Monday, 7 December 2009

Community gathering day - December on Sand Point

What a WINDY day! The sea was boiling up into a big clash with the thick river Severn water. Extraordinary. Brrrr.
Strata C. (plus dogs hats jumpers and scarves) were on the loose gathering film for the film generating mediascape and comments from the 'community' - aka the general public. Thanks to everyone who gave time on this brisk and blustery day to say a few words.

A meeting at the Pervasive Media Stuio afterwards was warm and tranquil by contrast. Ben Calders' can-do attitude makes us full of optimism for the Soundlines website.....

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

soundlines animation day

36 lovely 'boiling' 'roobarb-and-custard style' animations made by students and staff will be ready for the website walks....

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

soundlines music day

Amazing, well done Worle and Locking, and all the Strata team, and the staff who supported us so well - we have come away with tons of really interesting sounds, rhythms and new compositions which are going to make the best Soundlines walk ever.
You just wait till you hear it.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Sand Point - school visits / Soundlines project

Well, yes, we were biting our fingernails about rain, wind, weather in general .... but the puddles receeded (fortunately for the cycling animator), the clouds lifted and thick shafts of light and land revealed themselves all around.
A brilliant day with two batches of students from Worle College , Priory School, and Locking Primary. We looked at views,tried to decide if it was Wales, China(?) or France ... everyone worked away at their sketches for the animations, and stories just - dropped from the air. Including the tale of the Incredible Tsunami of 1607 (pictured above). A sobering tale.

Here are some students racing Jane up the hill to find some treasure:

And some more on Swallow Cliff filming and taking photos.

So, many thanks to all the staff who made today possible - we're looking forward to the music day, and can't wait to see all the sketchbooks , film, photos and animations.

Sunday, 4 October 2009


It's a buffeting wind and a gloomy sky today, but surely the weather will be kind to us on Tuesday, when we venture up 'The Hill' with the Soundlines students!

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Soundlines Starts!

After nearly a year 'brewing', a summer of planning, and juggling diaries with all the different  people & places, today was the first workshop session of Soundlines at Worle School, with staff and students from Worle, Priory and Locking Primary.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Come rain or shine!

Just a few of the walks made by today's 20 or so walkers, who admirably braved the torrential rain to explore Soundlines on Sand Point. (They weren't really swimming in the sea - though it may have felt a bit like it at the end! I think the mapping of Sand Point is as variable as the tides!)
(Pictures and video documentation to follow later)

Saturday, 25 July 2009

We went to the liminal zone and back again. Now a different rhythm & view, time to sit and feel the elements, smell the sea, move inside to the rolling tides of rhythm, enjoy a moment of infinity

Spot on, and sunny!

The trigger point and all going well, beautiful music, sunshine and happy collies too.
See you all tomorrow x

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Soundlines at Interactive Avebury

Today Soundlines had it's first public testing, with mediascapes (and ipaqs and headphones available to borrow) as part of Avebury Interactive, on Avebury Open Day 2009.
It was a good success, with some lovely appreciative feedback.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Live from the field...

Mapping traces and soundfeatures for interactive avebury.
(sent by mobile from the secret little area in Avebury that does have phone signal!)

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Triple Traces and Rainbows

Mapping Sand Point.
3 traces by 3 walkers.

All the colours of the rainbow...

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Sand Point - making the Trace

Me slowly turning round - Russ determinedly striding out!

Amazing sunset over Cardiff ..... strange green light on Exmoor, shimmering edges where land meets sea, on and on into the west.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Living Landscapes

Living Landscapes, AHRC conference at Aberystwyth University last Thurs - Sun was a back to back rich multidisciplinary wonderful pool of interesting experiences.
Lots of sound and space and walking - not much technology. This beautiful collage sent to us as lovely souvenir, with photos by Cara Brostrom, captures some of the magic moments..
Who's in that tree?

finger on the pulse

finger on the pulse
ears open
look up look round
walk the paths
yesterday's horizon with tomorrow's horizon

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Fwd: Living Landscapes - thursday

I tried emailing this from my mobile - but it didn't reach the blog.. so here it is, sorted..
Date: 2009/6/18
Subject: Living Landscapes - thursday

Im at Aberystwyth University for a 4 day, action-packed conference on landscape & environment.
So first thing we learnt how to say welcome in Welsh.. Croeso... And the welsh word for locality, place to which one belongs, locating humanlife in the environment is Cynefin.
George Monbiot gave a moving opening address, with todays climate report an ominous challenge, but stressing the need for us all to engage with climate breakdown as the pervading issue, and using creativity to get peoples prefrontal cortexs waking up from denial, and minds changing.
Then a plenary on 'post-discplinary' exchange, from material science to theatre research and cultural geogaphy.
Next a performance/pesentation/paper from the weeklong body weather residential in snowdonia - bhuto, permeable nature and body/landscape as continuously changing and bringing eachother into being. Nice.
Acoustic landscapes with wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson was great, loved the female cheetah purring. And the amazing mini habitat of flies and vultures inside the carcass of azebra. Freshly killed zebra.
For a bedtime dreaming his 16 min. Installation of 12 hour desert night sounds of the kalahari... I can still 'see' the stars!And inbetween all that was an hour performance of an audio piece for and about the Ancolme valley in lincolnshire. (look s a lot like the somerset levels...)
More tomorrow.... With an early 7am start for performances in the landscape workshop.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Whitesheet Soundlines

Sunday, Strata test walks on the hill...

With wonderful old hawthorn tree.

[This is using a pre-release version of mscape, which I was testing out for e-merge.
It's fine playing Soundlines on the ipaqs but a few teething problems running on the HTC phone - appears to rotate the whole map by 90` which was very confusing!]

Apart from the residency of two very large bulls, one in each of the mapped fields, it was a beautiful day to explore the hill discovering sounds and getting a suntan!

Tuesday evening I went back for a solo experience. I love the overlays of rythms and textured sounds, intensifying with the contours of the land. Moving slowly the sounds and patterns in space start to connect - a feeling of absence when I left the rich sounds of the round barrow. Quickly enchanted by discovering a tiny band of flute, that blows in the wind. The wind catching the headphones - sounds inside or out? Recapturing the flute, staying very still, a shaft opening up in the space of the landscape, if I stay still the melody uncurls, telling a story of time deep and passed. Then I follow a surface line, traversing the hilltop, crisp and sharp, rattley rythm.. has someone walked here before.. As I follow the sound follows the path. A new area beyond the ditched earthworks. And an invisible sound-mirror of the barrow - sound echoing form, creating a new sense of place, relationship and passing. Walking back I see a cow and calf following an unmarked path. Soundlines connect me as I follow them on my own unmarked path. Soundlines reaching out to the paragliders in the air, to the ripples in the grass, perfumed by orchids. Captivating, enhanced.

Friday, 12 June 2009

soundlines thoughtlines

The soundlines walk becomes a different experience depending on the time of day.

Afternoon is business like and you can stride out, cover the ground / sounds with ease.
Late evening turns the user to the sunset clouds, draws the feet to where the view is best. It's easier to linger.
Beyond dusk, coming into dark, you can enjoy an isolation of sound and motion, there's leisure to stop, no distraction. Firefly lights from the PDA making traces through the dusky shadows. Solitary dancers.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Test 2 - for Whitesheet Hill

So here's the second test - lots of different combinations of layering sound to test in the open spaces and ancient landscape of Whitesheet Hill on Sunday with Strata.

This is a screenshot from the mscape software I'm using to map the sounds onto the land.

Should be an interesting walk...

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

First Soundwalk!

Walks in Lower Coleford after dusk...
Elemental rythms, melodies and ambients as first demos of the Soundlines experience. Wonderful! Soft beautiful imagery watching a shadowy figure, lit by PDA, twisting and turning exploring the sound of the place - each figure moves in its own special way, soft round lines, dashing zig zag marks, structured solid blocks.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

A place with few roads

Apparently roads are quite a new concept in this place! (Sheep's Head peninsular, north side) ....
when you find one, you can drive slowly for miles, escorted by swallows, meeting - no-one.
Journeys would have been by boat.

Stone circles tend to be in the lee of the hills. You don't see them till you stumble on them.

The whole peninsular is crossed by hundreds of waymarked footpaths, down old boreens and up mountain tracks. Some tending towards the ficititous. Thrushes and blackbirds sing till nearly midnight leading the way across twilit mountainside down to groves of trees.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

22 Letters/Rider of the white horse

These books were recommended recently... anyone got a copy??
From wikipedia:
The 22 Letters is a children's novel by Clive King written in 1966.
In the
Phoenician city state of Gebel the master builder Resh has three sons, Zayin, Nun and Aleph, and a daughter, Beth. The three sons go on three journeys: to Egypt (Sinai), to the court of King Minos (Crete) and north to Ugarit. They return and save the city from invasion with the help of the three inventions they find or discover: celestial navigation, horsemanship and alphabetic writing. Then Thera explodes. Gebel is now known as Byblos.
Rosemary Sutcliff was a British novelist, best known as a writer of highly acclaimed historical fiction. Although primarily a children's author, the quality and depth of her writing also appeals to adults, she herself once commenting that she wrote "for children of all ages from nine to ninety."
Due to her chronic sickness, she spent the majority of her time with her mother, a tireless storyteller, from whom she learned many of the Celtic and Saxon legends that she would later expand into works of historical fiction. She then worked as a painter of miniatures.

35 000 yr old Venus!

How time flies...

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Wayfarer wanderings..

... are surely how we can be encouraged to walk with mediascape in the land.

"Wayfarers, by contrast, work out their trails as they go along, adjusting their movements in response to an ongoing perceptual monitoring of their surroundings, and invariably overshooting their destinations. It is in these thoughtful and improvisatory movements along ways of life that inhabitants' knowledge is forged. Though the traces left in the landscape by pedestrian movement may be long lasting, or alternatively may fade as quickly as they are made, these trails remain firmly etched in the memories of those who follow them. Thus locomotion and cognition are inseparable, and an account of the mind must be as concerned with the work of the feet as with that of the head and hands."
- from the abstract for Thinking on one's feet: walking as a way of knowing, presented by Tim Ingold, Dept of Anthropology, Aberdeen, UK

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Interesting : call for submissions

sound art, sound and images work and cross art work....
A call for submissions from EXPO Leeds

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

swirling seas, volcanoes

The green shelves of Sand Point were beaches once

And some of these rocks are volcanic tuff - airborne material from a volcano. ....

Friday, 10 April 2009

media dancescape

Creating sound clips today, based on elemental themes - water, air, fire, earth. Polyrhthms.
Here's an idea: a dance mediascape ....

Dancers in an open landscape
interpreting soundlines through dance
(filmed, watched )

Monday, 6 April 2009

sand point

Looks like a good location for a soundlines experience!


A definition of a soundline :
a unique composition created by an audio based mediascape walk.

This composition is layered music which includes found sound, site specific sound, and improvised sounds inspired by engagement with the place in which the walk happens.

Friday, 3 April 2009

media box

Now here's another idea - new funding strands announced

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

time to look beyond

Commissions for projects? or should it be discovering places? time to establish links with the Cultural Olympiad....

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Whitesheet PhotoMontageMovie

Just found this lovely sequence from my summer 2008 mediascape on Whitesheet Hill - 'Something More' and thought I'd put it up here as a reminder of things past and things to come...

I like this photo-montage-movie technique as a way to capture movement and snippets of attention within a panoramic landscape.

(No audio - make your own accompaniment!)

Monday, 2 March 2009

absence and presence

Almost a month has gone by since the snow.. daffs are out and I heard a cuckoo yesterday morning, early.

I've spent the last 3 weeks working round the clock on my mediascape for the London film festival Birds Eye View, that opens on Thursday. It's been great, and there's a lot of useful things we've learned and developed that will feed into Soundlines and later Sightlines.
The e-merge blog tracks the development of the project. A dedicated website will track the traces of walks and the resulting films made by people taking the mediascape for a walk in St James's Park during the festival. There's more about the background of the project on the BEV blog. And if anyone reading this is in London between 7-13 March, come along and try it out at the ICA!

Monday, 9 February 2009

snow reveals landscapes

Inspiring pictures of White Sheet - living up to its' name!
Snow reveals landscape features which can surprise. I remember seeing a rath (ring fort) from the top of the hill where we lived in West Cork. We'd looked at the view so many times, and never noticed this until the snow came.
The rath, an old homestead, was in fact perfectly sited, facing the southerly sweep of the mountainside, sheltered and with the most beautiful view.
No trace of pathway or trach or field was left, only the circular banks picked out by the snow.
Lives lived, forgotten.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Whitesheet snowlines

In the snow the earthworks stand out prominently - dark lines on the white hill.

Closer up and there are new lines revealed - a diagonal path of higher land.

The ditches have dark tops where the snow has blown clear, and white white fills where one step can take you from a crispy smudge of snow on grass to a couple of feet deep, the wind has evened out the contours of the land!
The round barrow has no snow, and fiery heat emanating from it.
And the centre ring - a nectar like silky soft honeylike feeling of energy swirling, spinning clockwise, rising up and down with rainbows lighting the air.
Close your eyes, listen inside your body - what does the land whisper to you?

Thursday, 5 February 2009


We were exploring animal tracks on the snowy wood margin. Hare, deer, fox, badger. All seemed to do the same thing - meander - round and round - it's not just humans and dogs then!

The joy of being in the landscape, crunch of snow, just going from here - to there - with no sense of arriving. Another kind of journey.
Lots of human trods too, way away from anywhere, doing the same thing - meandering. Making snowlines.

Snowsounds, snowlines

We went to the sun temple at Stourhead in the snow and low-hanging mist today.
The atmosphere is so still, new and ancient. Just single bursts of birdsong, ducks, geese, the water, and two woodpeckers echoing eachother. Sounds became crisp and clear, individual and tangible. The snow and mist together held the land in a way that made me feel just a glimpse of what it might have been like for HER, travelling through the woods and over the hills, on her journey back then.

We found a perfect bowl of untrod snow, surrounded by beech, to make our snow lines running in circles and rolling on the ground.

Saturday, 31 January 2009

Soundlines / Sightlines

The field matrix for Soundlines crosses over well to the Sightlines project.
Because Sightlines follows R and D, arrows could then become double ended, pointing both ways : elements informing the aims, aims informing elements.

My current definition of the mission statement of Sightlines is:
'The Strata Collective will provide a creative educational experience, backed by an interactive website and online resources, which introduces young people to a new slant on their landscape and heritage.'

Thursday, 29 January 2009

principles and provocations

A quick sketch of initial thoughts, to add to, query and amend as the project develops.

The project crosses into several disciplines/ fields of work, so ethics & principles from those areas will need to be embraced along the way.
The intended aim of the project is central, the core. There needs to be a constant awareness and rebalancing of the matrix of different parts/context, appropriate parameters, (responses to ethics from other disciplines) so the aim doesn't 'drift' through external pressure.

Fields - principles and provocations include:
Landscape - countryside codes; respect SSI; access, landowner's permission etc.

Education - ethics of best practice, health & safety, child protection etc in education/youth arts practice. Need to adapt within these constraints, facilitating project aims of individual learning and freedom of experience, ease of access etc.

Technology - constraints and mechanisms of technologies (incl. web, mscape) eg. privacy, moderation, access and spam issues with website as feedback mechanism. Provocations around identity, observation, tracking of individuals.

Young people - respecting and valuing involvement. Fun, freedom, own time, recognition (accreditation/acknowledgement of participation etc), exit and progression strategies.

R&D - ability to maintain open-ended research; exploratory and emergent; freedom, focus, depth.

Documentation - balancing r&d needs, advocacy, potential evaluation and funding requirements, project ethos, strata manifesto ethos, young people's freedom and privacy, codes of best practice.

Ownership and Rights - balancing participants, artists, prospective funders, genre/sector development, IP, knowledge sharing, etc.

Artists, innovators, facilitators - 'fair trade facilitation', valuing creative exploration; roles, acknowledgement, sharing workloads and feeding own creativity.

- that's a few things to think about, just to get started!
Tracing and monitoring these looks like an additional strand (and field)...

Music for mediascape

Challenges! Today I think the music should not intrude, but sit lightly - or even float above. But it could drive you on, or make you turn, or turn with you: it could stop and wonder,  re-inforce a moment, and maybe linger long after.

Monday, 26 January 2009

ethics of pervasive media

I went to a discussion group on the ethics of pervasive media at the PMS recently, and started to think about some of the issues raised, in relation to soundlines and sightlines. One outcome was the usefulness of creating a 'Principles and Provocations' guide to use in (pervasive) media projects.

If an evolved contemporary media is made from, and an artefact of, cultural mileaeu; is that also true of pre-literate times? Are those artefacts carriers of the great thinking of the day? Do we really leave our mark in words, films, artefacts? More than by our actions, emotional release, passing on of hereditary tendencies? EMF would suggest otherwise - that on an electromagnetic level we contribute to the environment/humanity/universe more potently, more significantly, through the 'charge' we carry/accumulate/release. Is it possible to read this 'invisible' mileau? Is it the other side of the coin to artefacts and words? even images? Or is there a more complex interwoven relationship that is yet to be unravelled?

Whilst we heard about Bernard Stiegler's work, from Patrick Crogan I kept thinking of the Qaatsi trilogy. From time and space across the earth to peoples, patterns and rituals. And finally onto the virtual location - media as place and basis for relationship - which I found harsh and dysfunctional. For me the real strength is in the first part of the trilogy, the physical existence that is so easily overlooked as we get more 'sophisticated'. So I think I'm agreeing with Stiegler's ideas that the media industries are tied to an outdated, 'expert' driven "battery farming of attention" and that media needs to find ways to access and respect the majority mind (I'd call it collective consciousness) and the individual's critical faculty ('psychic and collective individuation' to quote wikipedia).
I think that is what excites me about the values of Sightlines - at the heart is the raw landscape through the passage of time. As people we are wrapped onto and into that passage. But the land sustains. And what we pass on in that place is not through words, artefacts or even music - they are just the tools to facilitate our awareness that our energy is part of the place, has a relationship with it, and perhaps lingers to communicate with future others in a way far beyond the substance of normal words and media.

It takes confidence to travel slowly in today's racing-car world.

It was good to be reminded of the strength of a personally-significant (media)art work. The Qaatsi films hold that role for me, consequently I can relate any issue back to them, and they become a 'personal truth map' to guide me in unravelling those other structures in a 'personally-significant' way too.

The other strong re-membering I had during the discussion was a story related to Community Building. I was quite into Scott Peck's work and experiential community building a while back.
It was a story of story of a community building leader who had just returned from 6 months living on and reconnecting with ancestral land, and drumming. In a group meeting where noone could understand anyone else and there really seemed no way out of conflict (as the story goes), this man quietly picked up his drum and began a simple heartbeat rhythm. Before long everyone was moved to stillness, tears in eyes, the spirit of community awakened from deep within.
I love that story, and often remember it when words just don't quite seem to reach the spot.

(In Peck's model of community, any group will go through stages from finding superficial common ground, to the clash of chaos, silence of emptiness in which any barrier to community 'comes up', to community - a tangible state in which people respect eachother's differences and work collectively towards a common goal. If you're like me and sometimes find it hard to talk in groups, this is the enjoyable state where there's always a pause when you need it and people literally feel moved to speak.)

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

unusually similar but strangely different
has asked us to come and play music for his Cristabel event at Halsway Manor.

Thursday, 15 January 2009


You are meant to keep your eyes on the road whilst driving.
Its the landmarks that break the journey though isn't it?

Most westward journeys take me down the A 361, so I'm lucky - its things like
- mistleltoe orchard
- starlings in trees
- Quantock Hills maybe Dunkery Beacon on a clear day
- and of course, Glasotnbury Tor.

Yesterday it wasn't there! Strange. Even from close up, it was completely invisible in its own pod of freezing fog. Everything else was bright and pretty normal.

Just enough to be slightly unsettling .... it reminded me of this picture, anyway. (Same place, different weather)
You never know what is on the other side - unless you float above it.
Don't rely always on your sightlines. Even a bird may be confused.

magical, mistily - tor

I know you're meant to keep your eyes on the road whilst driving but those landmarks do break up the tedium don't they?
I'm always off to Taunton Bridgwater Langport or somewhere, so I measure the journey by
flocks of starlings
mistletoe orchard
glimpse of Quantocks
and of course G;asotnbury tor.

Well yesterday in the freezy mists it wasn't there! Completely vanished, in its own dimension of fog. Everything else all bright all around.
which reminds me of a picture....

Tuesday, 13 January 2009


I am excited by the idea of the trace unfolding as the music plays.

Sometimes I use a music workshop warm up called 'squiggles'. Players pair up, and both draw a squiggle. (- these look very similar to the traces.)
The idea is that you then play your friends' squiggle on your instrument - it's another way of writing music. Responses and interpretation vary a bit as you can imagine.

The traces of our significant journeys across ritual landscapes could be close to geomancy.

It also opens questions of how landscape affects our culture, our language, our vernacular architecture, our music..... perhaps less now than before : time to reconnect?

Monday, 12 January 2009

traces in the wind and rain

Here are a couple of gps traces from Whitesheet Hill - the bottom one was yesterday's visit, you can see the centre circular ditches as I walked round them a couple of times.
This top trace was today, in a storm, with 3 short films made through walking. The trace to the left is driving back down the track afterwards...

One of the idea's we want to explore through Soundlines is having the trace appear (animation) whilst the soundscape composition plays, as re-presentation on the web. I imagine those traces will be very different as the incentive to move around the landscape will be very different too.