Organising ‘finds’ as I assemble the ‘Fairy Cave Quarry Cabinet’ – to be installed tomorrow afternoon, if I can finish everything in the morning.
Duncan Cameron 20/9/15
It’s been fun exploring materials I don’t often use together – wax, paper, oil, cloth, chicken wire… to go with scrap steel remnants I found in the quarries for a new piece to be installed at Fairy Cave. Thanks to Rowena Pearce for her recycled wax donations!
The work’s about the lost (destroyed) and found caves at Fairy Cave Quarry. Photographs by Duncan Simey of the formations within and Andy Sparrow’s film ‘A Rock and A Hard Place’ have helped bring the caves to life for me… I may even go down them one day soon!
Fiona Campbell 16/9/15
When you drive through Stoke St Michael on the Mendips, you can sense that stone is part of its story. The grey stone houses, small, mostly, workers’ homes, the huge quarry lorries that you can encounter round any tight corner. Before you get there, on the the road from the A361, you pass several working quarries, and then the basalt quarry: Moon’s Hill Quarry, with the deepest, finest basalt around.
The Fairy Cave Quarry is on the other side of the village, hidden down a narrow leafy lane. It’s small (relatively, when you see the size of Whatley), not too overgrown, and closed to the public. So all the more exciting that it will be open to all during SAW, October 3 – 18th. I went there yesterday for a photoshoot with my still unfinished piece “Here Be Fairies”. This…
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UPDATE before the Bank Holiday (!)
ANTICLINE: GPS-triggered soundscape for Westdown Quarry (now running). This work can be downloaded free from my website (all instructions for downloading and use are HERE!)
SYNCLINE: array of 6 autonomous megaphones beaming audio content into The Amphitheatre at Fairy Cave Quarry (work-in-progress)
PERICLINE: sonic audio-art gallery piece for the Black Swan, Frome: this is the third piece in the triptych of audioworks for Step in Stone; it’s now in its final stages:
Very many thanks to great guy Charles Clapham, Workshop Supervisor for the School of Earth Sciences, Bristol University. I rang him up out of the blue with my strange artistic request to create rock core samples out of the Fairy Cave Quarry rock so I could animate them and he said, “bring’em in!” “When?”, I asked. “Now,” he said. Two weeks later he rang me up – he’d made two 25mm cores out of the rock. Thanks to Bristol Uni!
[Ralph Hoyte working with Phill Phelps]
A terrific afternoon and early evening exploring Fairy Cave quarry. Walked the perimeter collecting evidence of natural history and human activity and picked up snail shells, feathers, broken plastic car light fragments, pieces of ceramic, a glove, a wheel, a watch, bones, unusual stones and many other treasures for mounting and presentation. Worked with card and plaster to cast interesting tracks in the little mud that remains and stood alone in the middle of this wonderful sunken void as the rooks called and the light faded.
Duncan Cameron 7/8/15
I am now packing my bags ready to leave cold wintery Australia on Friday. All the light parts of my project are finished at last after many weeks thinking, planning, making, sewing…… my studio space is a complete mess as is the rest of the house, my poor family suffer with every project. It looks like I’m sewing for a bridal company!!
My project for Fairy Cave Quarry is called “Terra Firma: there’s no place like home”. It consists of 21 transparent tents of various sizes arranged in concentric circles reminiscent of a large ancient monument. Each tent will contain various growing/changing narratives, yet to be made, all will be revealed nearer the time.
I have had a passion for making tent projects over the last couple of years, some floating, others hanging onto exposed cliff tops, or beaches or sitting comfortably in an arid S. Australian bushland.
Recently some of them have taken to wheels and I have had a couple of opportunities to try out some ideas for ‘step in stone’.
My first project to set up next week is called “Lest We Forget: is enough enough?”, this project is a new larger developed version of an earlier work made for Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi. Westdown quarry is a great location for this work and I’m looking forward to setting it up next week. Its made of 12 chairs housed in large plastic bags with grass growing seats inside and arranged again in a large circle, plus an outer circle of water containing plastic pyramid shaped bags I’ve made.
I’m looking forward to returning to Somerset and the Mendips area and meeting all the artists and visitors.
RALPH HOYTE: Battened down the hatches and got seriously down to the actual act of creation this week (impending deadlines always help inspiration, of course). I’m creating SYNCLINE in Fairy Cave Quarry with my frequent collaborator Phill Phelps (audio engineer, coder, musician). It all started with me saying to Phill, ‘hey, how about hanging autonomous speaker units off the rim of the cliffs and beaming sound into the quarry?’ (see earlier entries).
So far we’ve bought most of the gubbins: 6 megaphones (more waterproof than conventional speakers, being made of metal), the mp3 player circuit boards, the wiring etc. We’re waiting on the bike batteries to drive the things – held up in China, I believe.
So much for the hardware. The software, in this case, is the poemscripts I’m writing. ‘Poemscripts’? The technology, that is to say the form, decides the content. Let’s say I wrote a conventional poem and simply divided it into 6 parts, or voices. You’d have 6 voices possibly overlapping each other. This would be mere cacophony. So the point is, how to compose for 6 ‘voices’ in this setting. I decided to set up 6 buckets, theme them, then simply dump all material pertaining to that theme into that bucket. Current buckets are:
No human voices were abused in the making of this work. They are all synthesised. Each ‘theme’ has a synthesized voice. The synthesised voices were virtually auditioned (which led to some rather amusing conversations, e.g.: Ralph: where’s Ana? Phill: she’s downloading. Ralph: tell her to get a move on, we haven’t got all night! Phill: OK, she’s downloaded – but whatiszname … Ralph: Oliver, English Oliver – Phill: he needs upgrading, that’s the old voice, let me get his updated voice…)
So far we’ve got:
Each quarry/medium of delivery demands a different mix. SYNCLINE in Fairy Cave is fractured, often broken, gnostic, hermeneutic. Not only do we have a quarry, where things which were not meant (!) to be seen lie exposed to the sun, the air, the gaze; also things here were smashed up, pulverized, blown apart, make up our roads, we drive Mercedes GLA45 AMG 4MATIC’s on them; but also: SYNCLINE – the earth in her groanings moved, she fractured the rocks, they were made molten, or lay flat and serene whilst the millennia snowed calcium on them. So the words are fractured, groaning, the millennia have sowed inconformity in them, things have intruded on their reverie, the notes are incongruous, scatty, effluvial…
Delivery is ‘in progress’. The mp3 readers are just … mp3 readers, They don’t do fancy stuff, they just read file1, read file2, read file3. So we sow ‘blank’ (silent) files in amongst them. The amount of silence depends on the nature of the voice. So Veena, for example, takes 8 hours to finish her list, and only then loops. Susan is more vocal. But we have to sow enough silence in amongst the files so that the chances of cacophony are small (but cacophony is sometimes good). Then we simulated on Ableton Live. Then we turned some down so you get the effect of the megaphone nearest you is loudest (of course), and the others are at various distances (which they will be, depending on where they are aimed). Then we considered the level of each, so we’d know how close you have to get to a megaphone to hear it. Then we put an echo on some. Then we decided we were tired and there were too many variables to code, so we went and cooked supper and drank cider.
ANTICLINE in Westdown is for a different media: GPS triggered smartphone media. So people will walk through the quarryscape. Will you expect ‘a story’. Maybe you’ll get one, maybe Discobolous will eject his head from the bedrock and stagger forth. I don’t know, I’m currently writing it, I don’t know what he’ll want to do, say. Maybe nothing. Voices? They haven’t spoken, yet.
Ralph Hoyte 16/7/15