Archive for the 'Sound' Category

TALK: Ian Anderson & Kim Coleman 6.30 Weds 4th May


Please join us for talks by Ian Anderson and Kim Coleman. Ian is a graphic designer and founder of ‘The Designers Republic’, the Sheffield based design studio. Kim is an artist and a designer of live stage shows for bands.

Comm Des Talks are a series of talks and workshop events organised by the Communication Design department at GSA.

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One of my favourite journals – Open! – which recently ceased in its print form due to funding cuts by the Dutch government, has only gone and reimagined itself in amazing website form.

Entropy! Entropy! They’ve all got it, Entropy!

Having enjoyed the last disjointed and dissociative blog-post so much, we thought we’d embark on another post rounding up links that might be of use in the current crop of graphics projects:

We start with this Beyond Entropy Publication. I’ve a copy, which I’ll bring in on Friday. The reason I have a copy is that it has ‘beyond’ in the title, and I buy any books that are about being beyond something. From there we move to entropy and communication, and the thought that the following films might be interesting:

Subsequently, we jump, via ambiguous symbols, to the typography topography project. The following film by Jonathan Meades asks many pertinent questions about the issues involved in this project – about money, class, ‘regeneration’, the languages of design – and it is all delivered in such a delicious style.

The clip above mentions the Islington Square development in Manchester, by FAT. From a ‘visual-language’ point of view, this is fascinating. In a style that is self-proclaimed as ‘radical post-modernism‘, questions of a dominant style, pluralistic narrative, the vernacular, the local and global are all mixed up*, with intriguing results.

Taste is indeed an interesting issue.

And to make one final leap, an interview with Morton Feldman:

*Clumsy description of post-modernism, radical or otherwise.

Important Work

Every Friday, over lunch, we pick a topic and all bring in something noteworthy that relates to that topic, to talk about. This week it was ‘sounds’. The image is by our guest lunchtime-liker today, Malcy Duff, and is an acetate based interchangeable sound score. The recording below is what lunchtime in the graphics studio sounded like today;

Press here to play

This is Visual Thinking

The Muppets, Henson and Sesame Street are covered in an interesting article in the latest Bulletin of the Serving Library.

Failed Report

“Field Studies is a four-day summer-school led by three acclaimed sound artists and composers. It explores the possibilities of engaging with places through listening, and working with recorded sound as a creative and practical tool in the context of architecture, the city and art practice.”

The course was organised by Musarc and led by Joseph Kohlmaier who edited Human Space by O.F. Bollnow on Hyphen Press. Three workshops were tutored by artist Brandon Labelle, field recordist Lee Patterson and artist Davide Tidoni. There were also talks from John Dack on Pierre Schaeffer and musique concrète, Soundfjord‘s co-founder Helen Frosi and sound artist Christina Kubisch.

Clockwise from top left, reconstructed overheard conversations, fishing for sounds using DIY hydrophone and the shoe-less Davide Tidoni discusses exploring space with radio static.

I didn’t manage to get the obligatory photo of artists/designers on laptops around trestle tables, it did happen though!

In Christina Kubisch’s talk, she showed films of her electromagnetic induction headphones in action. They pick up electromagnetic fields from electrical devices and convert them into sound using something like this. Reminded me of the sunglasses scene from They Live.

When does term start?

Vis Com 12 Degree Show

Vis Com 12 is the website of this years graduating 4th year students. And representing as it does, a fantastically diverse body of works, has the most tags of any post on the vis-com blog ever.

SiSi in CR

Vis Com person Lu SiSi features as one of 5 to watch in this month’s Creative Review Graduate Special. A nice wee feature on one of 2011’s top graduates.

(It’s obviously been a long time since I paid money for a magazine – five pounds and ninety pence it was!)

I Don’t Know Where I’m Going

Highlights symposium I Don’t Know Where I’m Going But I Want To Be There from Graphic Design Museum on Vimeo.

I was planning to write up my trip to the ‘I don’t know where I’m going’ conference, but find myself in the strange, (but not unsurprising if I thought about it), situation where the whole thing has been recorded and documented online in great depth. Therefore what I think I’ll do is a personal travel diary, with some vimeo clips in the middle to represent the proceedings on the day. This may or may not work.

5.45am, Glasgow Airport: The plane boards, only 1/4 full as most flights back out of Schipol are cancelled due to yesterday’s snow. Wonder if I’ll make it back tomorrow, but I’m doing this for Vis Com, and plough on regardless.

A 45 minute delay to take off, they’re spraying de-icer on the wings. Worried, I wonder why the illuminated ‘no smoking’ and ‘seatbelts fastened’ signs look so similar from a distance. I wonder If anyone else wonders this.

Take off.

The strange but strangely enjoyable sandwiches (egg and cheese) are brought round with a cup of tea, a tiny spoon and a paper napkin faked up to look like a gingham tablecloth.

Mid-flight the guy next to me gets out to go to the toilet, stopping to do up his hiking boot laces. They were presumably unfastened to get them off going through security, but have inadvertently created a terrorism-related mise en scène, as he bends down in the aisle and starts fiddling about with his shoes, somewhere over the North Sea.

As we head east, the sun is coming up in front of us, more coffee and tiny spoons appear.

Amsterdam, a light southerly breeze, -5, snow.

We arrive slightly late at the conference, having completely misjudged the distance from the station to the venue. The talks proceed as follows, and you can pick up most you need to know from the following link.

Lunch, improbably long queue in bagel bar next door. In a moment of serendipity for any terminal name-dropper, we stand next to Danny van den Dungen from Experimental Jetset while we wait. Sure he’s written a similar post about how he stood next to me and Lizzie.

Afternoon highlight (for me) is Metahaven’s Wikileaks talk, and the ideas of ‘image economies’ (as relates to someone’s or something’s identity in a digital networked environment) and ‘agency’, doing only what needs to be done, and being prepared to do, or design, nothing.

Daniel van der Velden – Metahaven | Symposium I Don’t Know Where I’m Going But I Want To Be There from Graphic Design Museum on Vimeo.

Post-conference beers, shop/gallery opening, pizza, freezing, good deviating conversation. Hometime. Semi-drunk late-night check-in at a hotel where the room is approximate 30cm2 bigger than the bed that’s in it.

Return via Schipol airport. A modern Bosch-esque scene of travel infrastructure overload, make the gate with 5 minutes to spare, this is how I like to operate.

Barry Esson, Wed 10th Nov.

Sound in Context (Full Film) from Sound and Music on Vimeo.

While the film above is talking about sound in an ‘art’ context, its useful to translate some of the discussions across to its use in design. The following outlines an interesting position; “In fact, music is never just about music: it is always the product of its wider situation[1]. Some musics reinforce the status quo[2] . Other musics try to affect the collective conditions of existence. We’re interested in the later: not once radical, now stagnant scenes, but musics that continue to develop useful ways of acting and thinking outside dominant ideologies; musics as part of that wider situation, with something to say about and offer back to it.”

The video features Barry Esson, co-director of arika, who will be speaking at one of the forthcoming GSA open events on the 10th Nov.

[1] Isn’t music always produced through interacting social, cultural, philosophical and ideological factors. (Is it cowardly/reckless/naïve to abstract away from these?)

[2] Don’t you find that most music (incl. most experimental music) simply fortifies false notions of freedom and possessive individualism, of art as lifestyle choice lacking the will/ ability to say anything other than the simply musical?



Arika have their nice brochures available online. They also have an interesting festival coming up next week. (Some of which outlined below by David Kerr).

Image by Jez Burrows:

Robert Ashley

A while back David Coyle sent me a link to some footage of American composer Robert Ashley, performing excerpts from his early 1980’s ‘TV opera’s’. I was quite amazed by them. You can find out more about Ashley here.

Frankfurt Schule


Sorry for gap of epic proportions between posts. Very good documentary from Melvin Bragg on In Our Time about the Frankfurt School of theorists which includes Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno. Well worth a listen.

School of Echoes


More info

Central Station: a community

Central Station, (a community for art, film and design), launches (in beta, but aren’t we all) today. Log-on, look around, sign-up, tune-out. GSA Visual Communication is on there, so you could even become friends with the course.


The BBC World Service is running a project called Save Our Sounds, a place to archive the disappearing sounds of the world, such as the call of the kookaburra, or the call of the olivetti typewriter, either dying out or obsolesced by new technologies.