Yolande Harris > Taking Soundings > Artistic Residency

This is the second phase of my project researching navigation and orientation in physical space, and it’s relation to sound and image in performance. I’m looking into satellite navigation using GPS and old style celestial navigation using tables and sextant, as a way to explore a continuity between navigation technologies, instruments, observation and calculation. I’m particularly interested in the conceptual impact this has on our understanding of location, stasis and motion. It’s through sound that I want to try to address a physicality in our awareness of location and navigation. The implication is of a physical musical instrument that works simultaneously on an intimate and spatial scale in relation to the player.

The set-up I’m experimenting with uses a bluetooth GPS receiver that feeds live into Max/MSP+Jitter to generate simple sounds and lines mapped to the longitude, latitude and altitude data. At the same time I’ve been working on mapping pre-recorded data of my journeys along the coastlines of Brittany, Portugal, Sydney Harbour, Balearic Islands and Holland which show the contrast of using data from different locations on the globe. Sextant practice has just begun (!) and I’m learning the techniques of this celestial navigation, in effect calculating ones position from motion. As an instrument it needs constant practice to be accurate enough, and as a parallel to a musical instrument I will develop this into sound and try extending it with sensors.

more info on www.yolandeharris.net

the first stage of the project was supported by an Artistic Fellowship at the Kunsthochschule fur Medien in Cologne during 2006
you can see more of this first stage at www.yolandeharris.net/takingsoundings.htm

it is more formally described in the paper “Taking Soundings: Coastal Navigations and Orientations in Sound” – presented at the 4th International Mobile Music Workshop in May 2007, Amsterdam

the next performance, the first with the sextant, will take place as part of a New Music and Astronomy Festival in Catalunya during August 2007.

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