Kinetic Sculptures

by Stephen Cornford

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Air Guitar 14:15
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Two Degrees 11:53

about

The five works documented on this disc are the first five sound installations I made. With the exception of 'Two Degrees' they were all made while studying at Dartington College of Arts. These works were never considered with longevity in mind, they were temperamental, chaotic, and near-impossible to keep running in a gallery context. What remains of them are these serendipitous recordings, all made when each work was at its best.

These are my attempts to make a music which is contingent upon the materiality of the instruments and the mechanical processes they are subject to. A music which is decidedly physical and visual, which is made to be actively explored rather than passively absorbed, one which confounds our expectations that music requires manipulation and one which evades explanation despite its transparency. A music which generates surprising complexity with fixed systems.

What is lacking here is the physical encounter. The further I get from these works, the more I think of them as physically hostile to their audience: a 25kg battery spins overhead, a tape loop restricts movement, guitars are propelled forcefully at hip height. The works enact a physical threat upon their audience in spite of, and contradictory to, their aural allure. They seek to mesmerise by a combination of cyclical movement and continuous harmonic sound, but they refuse the audience the dominance they are accustomed to.

As recordings these works retreat into the familiar world of audio-aesthetic constructions: their fragility and the risk they engender vanish in fixity and repetition; their environment is flattened into stereo. What you hear here is half the work, the half which was intended to instil wonder and inquisitiveness, what remains inaudible is the work's failure to sustain itself and the palpable tension of the audience's response.

credits

released November 20, 2015

originally released on CD by VLZ PRODUKT

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about

Stephen Cornford Bristol, UK

media artist based in Bristol, UK.

This is an archive of sound works published over the years.

more here:
stephencornford.net

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