Works - current projects

Rust (2020)

electronics and multimedia

collaboration with visual artist: Eloise Shaw 

In August 2019, I made the biggest move of my life (so far) from the town of Huddersfield, UK, to the city of Buffalo, USA. Having been born and raised in Huddersfield, thus spending 22 years of my life there, I could not help but draw parallels between the industrial-meets-rural similarities of both locations (despite them being 3,000 miles apart!). Buffalo is located on a string of ex-industrial cities known as the ‘rust belt’ (e.g. Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, etc.), and the concept of ‘rust’ as a signifier of decay, the abandoned, and the forgotten became of great interest to me.

 

At the same time as I made the move to Buffalo, a childhood friend of mine from Huddersfield – visual artist, Eloise Shaw – made a similar move to the city of Glasgow in Scotland; a place that also shares an ex-industrial heritage with Huddersfield and Buffalo. We discussed our experiences of moving and decided to collaborate on an acousmatic multimedia project with the theme of industrial-meets-rural at its heart; a ‘mechanical pastoral’ of sorts that would tie together and pay homage to our homes past and present. Eloise had much more positive insights into the connotations of rust. She saw it as a signifier of warmth; as abandoned objects decay, they discover a new-found use as they return to mother nature once more; their life-force is recycled. 

 

The images and sounds featured in rust are all taken from sites in Buffalo, Glasgow, and Huddersfield where natural and industrial environments meet. Both mine and Eloise’s connotations of rust are considered – the abandoned industrial objects make no noise in my field recordings; it is the sounds of the changed environment around them that are heard. The objects are absent even sonically, their lost sounds only able to be imagined. Conversely, these objects are the focal point of many of their images – often conspicuous and out of place, they dwarf the environments they exist within; they are towering post-apocalyptic structures signifying a world that is now lost. In the modifying of the sounds and images taken at these sites, the objects are recycled and used to create something new. Both the visuals and the soundscapes continually flit between original image/sound and various distortions of those images/sounds; they are stuck between states of natural and artificial, vivid and abstract, perpetually transitioning from one to the other, paying homage to the ‘limbo’-state of the sites they are retrieved from.