Crónica 103~2016, CD
Release date: 16 March 2016
- Against Nature  (10:58)
- Against Nature  (4:57)
- Against Nature  (12:55)
- Against Nature  (9:56)
- Against Nature  (4:26)
It’s always a good strategy to open with a salvo of tension, dynamics and volatility. The threat of another will continue to loom throughout the following, lending a disquiet to even the most minimal of passages. Such is the unveiling of these five chapters in a highly refined practice of telescoping sound from the British artist Simon Whetham. If it is not a sense of unease, then something carcinogenic, septic, or unstable is felt, heard, and / or alluded to. Against Nature makes for an apt title, though a literary reference to the decadent work by Huysmans is an implausible one. Here, we find Whetham confronting an existential question in relation to a principle working method, what Whetham qualifies as “an intervention.” The process is relatively straight-forward and somewhat commonplace, as the sound artist seeks out spaces with interesting acoustic properties and activates those sounds through physical or electrical means. The question that Whetham ponders is in regards to the mark-making, the disruption, and the destruction of that site through his action. Out of that investigation, Whetham presents a confluence of activity: white noise scabbed from physical abrasion, static and circuit amplification from electronics gone haywire, the resonance of bell tones grotesquely transformed into a chorale of noxious buzz, the complication, the confusion, the unknown.
Simon Whetham has developed a characteristic practice of working with sound recordings as raw materials for composition and performance. These are often environmental sounds he has captured employing a variety of methods and techniques, in order to reveal discreet or obscured sonic phenomena. When presenting work in a performance or installation, for him the space and the objects within become instruments to be played.
Simon has a large number of works published through many specialist organisations, including Helen Scarsdale Agency, Crónica, Line and Dragon's Eye; has performed extensively internationally; collaborated with artists from musicians to performance artists, painters to video artists, dancers to poets; has run listening and field recording workshops in UK, Estonia, Czech Republic, Colombia, Chile, Australia and South Korea; and received a large number of commissions and awards for projects and installations – notably for his own project 'Active Crossover'.
Supported by the Arts Council England and PRS for Music Foundation, the project combines sound installation, performance, collaboration and workshops. 'Active Crossover' toured six cities in the UK and has been hosted in Estonia, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Australia, Germany and Norway.
Most recently the project ran as a two-month collaborative residency, supported by Arts Council England and the British Council, hosted by MoKS in Estonia, with participating artists from UK, Estonia, Latvia, Korea, Australia, USA, Austria, Finland, Norway and Chile.
As a further development of Simon's practice, he gives workshops sessions for groups of children and young people. This began with the participation in the arts education project RED Artes Visuales de Medellín in Colombia, where he ran workshop sessions for youths, exploring listening exercises, recording techniques, microphone construction, public intervention, and instrument and kinetic sculpture building. This has led to workshop sessions with children in Norway, Australia and South Korea and with unaccompanied minors in a refugee camp in Munich, Germany.
- Source material generated and captured October and November 2013 during a residency with Agder Kunstsenter, Kristiansand, Norway
- Mastered by Miguel Carvalhais
- Cover photo by Julia Weinmann
- Special thanks to Terje Paulsen, Jon S. Lunde, Hilde Marie Holsen, Randi Thommessen, Agnes Repstad, Cecilie Nissen, Erik Pirolt and Naysa Andrade. Many thanks also to Miguel and Pedro at Crónica for continued support of my artistic endeavours