Thoughts on Space and Place


By Nye Perry (extraits)

5 March 2014
Space in my work is structural. I am fascinated by the notion that we conceive of structural relationships per se in terms of space. In my own field this has most obviously manifested itself as the musical score in which the temporal and pitch relationships of musical notes are conceived in two dimensions. It has also been manifested in two fundamental spatial metaphors for the passing of musical time identified by Johnson and Larson (Something in the Way She Moves, 2003), one in which music is thought of as moving past a stationary listener and one in which the listener moves through a musical landscape. Our understanding of music, even at its most abstract is structured through spatial relationships. This conception of space carries no specificity as to a particular location: its history, its use, its geographical features etc. Often in my work the spatial relationships that structure the work are indeed directly mapped onto the space of the listener as it is in my recent installation The Exploded Sound, in which the listener explores the inner structure of sound by walking through a field of loudspeakers, each carrying individual ‘partials’ of complex sounds. This allows the listener to gain an embodied experience of the inherent spatial structure through an exploration of and movement through the physical space. I am dealing with place when my work involves a specific reaction to a site or location, when the sounds I use evoke the sounds of a place or the feeling of being there, its history or social use, its architecture or topography. These works may be site specific such as the installationLiving Steam from the late 90s in which I processed and re-situated sounds from the engines of the Kew Bridge Steam Museum in the main engine room itself, creating a kind of concerto for live and recorded engine sounds or they can merely evoke a place or a reaction to place through the use of field recordings as in a recent sound poem ATCZero. In another early installation at the Oldham Art Gallery I used a combination of Oral History archive and industrial sound to explore the conditions of industrial Oldham and the radical movements that grew up there. This work deals with place as it is experienced. The full article from the Tate Museum can be consulted here 

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