The Sound Reliquary (Craobh Rua/TYB)

The Sound Reliquary (Craobh Rua/TYB)

Initial Concept design in notebook

Documentation of box in progress. The outside was varnished. I left the inside blank, hope to capture some new lines in there? To be drawn on or altered during the course of the sessions?

The patterns on the box are burnt into the wood surface using the pyrography tool. It is a meditative act that requires focus on my part and a certain amount of stamina as the tool heats up to a very high temperature. I consider why I use this technique? The act of burning is a cleansing ritual, a way of letting something go. I burn incense every morning in my studio, the smell takes me into a place of transition. It closes off the domestic world that looms beyond the door. The smell of burning wood on the surface of the box triggers an otherness in memory. I see bonfires, campfires and feel a sense of belonging (like I do when I make). There is risk and danger in the act of burning, it excites me there is a high risk for error? When errors are made I must respond to them, not to correct but to acknowledge how they have changed the response. The marks made disrupt the smooth surface.

The design had to be self explanatory, I am working with pre verbal children who can respond independently to colour, shapes and symbols. The box itself makes sound when banged. Like the cajón I hear my neighbour play some evenings. Different sections of box have a higher and lower tone when struck. This painting by Kandinsky, Composition 8 appears to me as if the painting was a visual score. Can the box invoke music and be a relational object?

Wassily Kandinsky Composition 8 (Komposition 8), July-1923, Guggenheim Museum

While researching other music inspired works I came across these incredibly beautiful musical manuscripts by Tibetan monks. They present a score as if it was a landscape. Undulating lines to aid direction when singing from the throat. Ritual music can invoke deities, ward off feral spirits, and support prayer, meditation, and the memorization of Buddhist text. Is this a possible blueprint for recording the sounds that could be made by the box in my observational notebook?

The box is finished. It is an instrument (a useful container) filled with instruments (found objects no longer used by my daughters) and joins the labyrinth mat, platonic playthings and some silver emergency blankets/sensory windchimes/spinning objects (not yet resolved) as part of the curated space in Craobh Rua. Here is a mock up captured on the morning of the 8th of September. Time now to sit back (relinquish control) and watch the performance unfold. Record responses, reflect on any moments of deeper engagement that may reveal themselves to me when these objects are given attention by audience.

References [Accessed 30th August 2020] [Accessed 14th August 2020] [Accessed 28th August 2020] [Accesssed 30th August 2020] [Accessed 30th August 2020] [Accessed 14th August 2020] [Accessed 28th August 2020]