thirteenfridays: Llanelli

Our 13 week picnic marathon started on Friday 13 April, we’ll be visiting a haunted location every Friday until Friday 13 July 2018.  Each week we set off armed with sound recording equipment, digital cameras and an original Polaroid camera – to take an unfakeable and unique Polaroid image at each location.

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Photo by Dara Jasumani / Parc Howard museum / CC BY-SA 2.0

This week  we headed off to Llanelli to visit Parc Howard Museum and Art Gallery.  Our regular thirteenfridays guest, Sam Knight, is a fantastic woodworker and he has a beautiful handmade chair in a curated exhibition Pair //Pâr showing in the museum until July. Serendipitously, Parc Howard is also said to be haunted by a number of ghosts. So we popped in to the exhibition keeping our eyes and ears open at the same time for any uncanny fellow visitors.

The building was used as military hospital in both world wars and it is said that the ghosts of a nurse and a soldier are seen together on the main stairs. There has also been scratching and scraping noises at the back of the building which is said to be the ghost of a young man; a lover who hid in the chimneys of the house to avoid detection but who became disoriented and trapped, subsequently losing his life in the narrow network of passageways. Lady Howard herself is also said to wander in the house seen as a ghostly white lady and sometimes appearing at the windows. Lights have also been recorded at night in the empty house after the building has been locked by staff.

We unpacked our 13 themed picnic in the grounds of the house.

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13 Crustless mini quiches flavoured with a selection of 13 ingredients (Spinach, Rocket, Asparagus, Red Chilli, Green Olives, Tomato, Cheddar, Parmesan, Basil, Oregano, Sundried Tomatoes, Spring Onion, Black Pepper) served with 13 slices of cucumber; 13 ingredient smoked chilli salsa (Red onion, Garlic, Green chili, Chipotle chili, Sun dried tomatoes, Red pepper, Lime Juice, Tomatoes, Smoked paprika, Salt, Thyme, Parsley, Sugar) served with tortilla chips; 13 ingredient vegan slaw (White cabbage, Red cabbage, Carrot, Fennel, Celery, Olive oil, Sunflower seeds, Pumpkin seeds, Green Olives, Parsley, Lemon juice, Salt, Pepper); special 13 ingredient Bara Menyn sourdough loaf; 13 baby plum tomatoes on the vine; 13 ingredient ginger and walnut loaf with dates and figs (Flour, Baking Powder, Brown Sugar, Ground Ginger, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Golden Syrup, Butter, Eggs, Milk, Dates, Walnuts, Dried Figs).

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thirteenfridays: Hen Galan, Radios, Opera & Bernard

Friday January 13 2017

The first Friday 13th of 2017 and we decided to combine three celebrations into one to celebrate in fine thirteenfridays style.

We started the evening by setting up a radio experiment to commemorate the first public radio broadcast made on January 13th 1910 and at the same time pay homage to Jacob’s Grandad Bernard Jones, born on January 13th 1914, an inventor and pythagorean, interested in using technology to communicate with the other side. Bernard was one of the inspirations for setting up the Absent but not Forgotten project back in 2010, so we wanted to send him birthday greetings across the great divide.
Bernard was interested in EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) so we set up a detuned radio to play white noise into a Latitude 150 walkie-talkie (446.00625-446.04375 MHz)) while a Sennheiser EW100 wireless microphone kit (830-866MHz) picked up the noise at the other end of the walkie-talkie and sent the noise to a reciever where an Ipad webcast live to youtube. Bernard would undoubtedly have enjoyed the new technologies we could bring to the experiment.
Using 2 radio frequency transmitters and receivers potentially increases the chances of paranormal communication…the experiment ran while we dined in the adjacent room, the result is below. The intermittant transmission is the result of the frighteningly poor upload speeds in rural west Wales rather than any spooky goings-on we fear!

During our thirteenfridays meal we listened to the opera Cavalleria Rusticana which is cited as the first public radio broadcast in 1910 and included this song by Enrico Caruso. Not natural consumers of opera we were feeling quite high brow,  but it must be said that not all our guests appreciated the cultural adjustment (you know who you are…).

Hen Galan is the Welsh New Year or the old new year as it was before the calendar change of 1752. Still observed in the Gwaun Valley not far away, our thirteenfridays menu took a Welsh turn in celebration.

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Worrying Welsh Rarebit – 13 slices of local Bara Menyn 5 seed bread topped with classic Welsh rarebit made with Welsh cheddar and served with a foraged garnish of 13 pennywort leaves and 13 wild sorrel leaves.

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Pastai Bysgod Peryglus – Welsh fish pie made with 13 ingredients – Cod, Smoked Salmon, Mussels, Potatoes, Leeks, Fish Stock, Parsley, Bayleaf, Dill, Flour, Butter, Egg, Pepper.  Served with 13 New Potatoes, 13 Purple sprouting Broccoli and 13 Kalettes.

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13 Twisted Welsh Cakes – 13 crushed cardamom pods and dried cranberries providing the twist on the classic.

Bernard’s birthday cake was a Lemon Drizzle with 13 drizzle holes and 13 candles. In memory of the stories by Liz Whittaker about a strange series of events on another of Bernard’s birthdays some years ago, we had a helium balloon and phone at the table throughout the meal…

Score Valley, Ilfracombe

Score Valley

Absent but not Forgotten have created new work for Ilfra Expo based on our recent visit and stay in Ilfracombe’s Score Valley.
You can see the work at the Olde Thatched Inn, Hillsborough Road, Ilfracombe, EX34 9PG  from 14/07/13 – 04/08/13.

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Join us 11am – 1pm Ilfracombe Museum, and 7pm – 9pm at The Olde Thatched Inn
Come and be photographed as a Ghost-in-a-sheet with artists, Kathryn and Jacob (Absent but not Forgotten) and join our spooky online gallery of spectres!

See more from our ghost gallery here.

Whistle Quietly

Absent but not Forgotten: ‘Who is this who is coming?’
(Technical processes)

The installation for Oriel Davies consists of 2 main elements; A video presented on the vintage television and a 4 channel sound work allied to the table setting.  Derived from the incidental audio within the breakfast scene, the sound emanating from the table is presented as 2 separate stereo works. A number of techniques and ideas were used in its production.

First of all the scene was examined to identify all of the sounds that contain no dialogue – the silences between words; cutlery on crockery; sounds of the professor eating etc. were extracted and placed in a time-line. While the volume was increased, the durations and relative positions of these clips were maintained to keep the random rhythmic structure of silences within the scene.

The very short, sharp sounds of cutlery and crockery were extracted and condensed to remove the gaps in between and create a single sample. This was then treated using software dedicated to time-stretching, changing the 4 second sample into 4 minutes. This element in the overall sound is the more musical, orchestral, composed sounding piece. The musical tonal qualities coming from the ringing sound of the original samples.

The clip of condensed sounds of the cutlery and crockery was added a second time and time-stretched to 15 seconds, this time allowing the samples to pitch shift with the duration change. Finally the unprocessed, individual cutlery and crockery samples were reintroduced to the time-line and scattered randomly throughout the time-line, repeating to spread them across the entire duration.

These 3 elements were then combined into 2 stereo files, each containing the more musical element in both channels and the silences or cutlery placed in only the left or right channel. Playing together as separate sources allows small variations in the timing which when combined with the sound on the television create a complex, subtly changing work.

The use of recorded silences has been important within Absent but not Forgotten since it’s inception in 2010. It’s use is derived from ideas surrounding paranormal investigation and EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon), and in particular the studies undertaken by my grandfather who used to attend spiritualist meetings, record the medium and analyse the silences within the recordings to try and find evidence of the voices. We have adopted this technique and used it as a starting point within a number of our video and installation works.

The video is a simple corruption of footage from ‘Whistle and I’ll come to you’ using filters which emulate analogue detuning and static interference. The breakfast scene emerges from the distorted, detuned footage roughly once every 10 minutes. The white noise soundtrack within the video is created by processing silences extracted from the breakfast scene, with the volume modulated randomly, the scene itself has it’s soundtrack left intact.
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(The video below uses a stereo version of the same audio described above)

Who is this who is coming?

Yesterday we travelled to Oriel Davies in Newtown to install our work for the forthcoming show, Be our guest, opening on Saturday 29th June.  The gallery is transforming into a guest house for the exhibition which runs until September 4th.

Who is this who is coming?

Our work ‘Who is this who is coming?’ is situated in the breakfast room of the imagined B&B and is based upon a pivotal scene in the 1968 film ‘Whistle and I’ll Come to You’.  Additional elements can be seen here and on our website www.absent-but-not-forgotten.co.uk