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.

Rarebit.jpg
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.

fishpi
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.

welsh-cakes
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…

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Absent but not Forgotten: V – Halloween at the Abacus

To kick off a series of events for ABNF V (celebrating our fifth year of Absent but not Forgotten) we held a one night only retrospective exhibition in The Abacus, Cardiff.  An amazing space to show in, we were able to include a number of works from the last 5 years.

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As well as the installations and artworks we offered evil home-brewed refreshments and toasted the event with our special reserve ‘666’ blackberry wine (brewed from 666 blackberries). Live Halloween sounds were created by Jacob Whittaker and his vinyl loops of horror and a new performance from invited artist Ian Watson, a truly terrifying blend of electronic noise, mask and sportswear!

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Our interactive corner invited some homespun ghostly shenanigans – thanks to all our Sheet n’ Tweeters!

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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.
JW

(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

A Night in the Score Valley Hotel

Arriving at dusk in Score Valley we pulled up in the car and were first welcomed by the hooting of owls from the nearby woods, creating just the right atmosphere for our stay.  On entering the hotel there was nobody to be seen, I just couldnt resist calling out – ‘Is there anybody there?’
No answer.  So instead we rang the bell and were quickly made welcome by Roger, the proprietor, who showed us to our first floor room and left us to unpack and discuss the plans for the weekend.
The owls continued and as we prepared the camera for an overnight vigil, there was some very strange scratching and tapping noises at the window…by the time we had equipment ready to record, it had stopped…

The camera was set to nightvision mode and left to take a photograph every minute through the night.

The Witching Hour

THE WITCHING HOUR
Sara Annwyl, Kathryn Campbell Dodd & Jacob Whittaker, Matt Cook, Michael Cousin, Paul Emmanuel, Tom Goddard, Heloise Godfrey, Mark Houghton, Leona Jones and Richard Huw Morgan.

curated by Richard Higlett

As part of Cardiff Contemporary, Goat Major Projects will presenting its 7th Project: The Witching Hour. This will feature the creation of a sonique lounge in the Canton based project space. The lounge will be a space to hear a programme of sound art by artists based in Wales in the form of an edited hour of works played as a loop. Spoken word pieces and soundscapes, imaginary places and scenarios are formed through sound, transporting the listener to other realms. The project explores the key themes in contemporary sound art, an artform that exists outside of music and poetry, which could be described as a theatre of frequencies. The title ‘The Witching Hour’ is influenced by the writings of David Toop whose book ‘Haunted Weather’ refers to sound as being uncanny and other worldly.
Opening times:
18.00-20.30 Monday – Friday 10.00 -16.00 Weekends. 26/10 to 11/11.Exhibition continues to 11/11/12