The soundscapes for the three time-lapse video works in the current exhibition at the Crypt Gallery, Earth is Calling, were created by musician and composer, Jonathan Lambert. In our initial conversation I gave him my thoughts on the videos and how I envisaged the sound. I supplied Jonathan with a number of individual time-lapse pieces initially and he sent back his first test pieces. This became the starting point for a series of conversations and re-workings leading to the final pieces.
The videos are located in three places in the Crypt with the result that they merge in different ways depending on where you are in the gallery. Because the lengths of the videos vary, no combination of sounds is ever repeated. Added to the mix is the noise of traffic from the street, the occasional ringing of the bell from the church above and the faraway sound of my voice from the film playing in one of the rooms.
Jonathan has this to say about the process:
‘The first piece of Irma’s work I saw was an installation in the Canal Museum. The desire to stay to see the process through to the end, whatever that might be, was strong, but time, human endurance and the venue’s opening hours, ran contrary to my wishes. Images suggest sound, but how to apply sound to a process which may take days or weeks to run its course? A project involving time-lapse video was a logical step; not just a compromise between artist and public, but something new and vital. I knew when I first saw these images that I wanted to be involved.
The juxtaposition of time-lapse video and sounds recorded in real time, especially sounds from the natural world, intrigues me. Is time being stretched or compressed? It invites extrapolation to a geological perspective in one direction and, in the other, to that of tiny creatures which live their whole lives in a brief moment. Where are we on that scale?
Choosing the initial palette is key when I begin any project. I take an instinctive approach and avoid making rational decisions until I have a rough sketch. At that point I can hear what doesn’t work and what has potential. Once I am happy with the basic elements I can add or strip away without losing my sense of the whole.
This work makes use of location recordings of ice and liquid water. The musical elements offer an emotional dimension to an engagement which might otherwise be wholly cerebral and dispassionate. I wanted only to open that emotional door, not furnish the room within. Yet while I have no wish to dictate the quality of your response, my hope is that your connection with the images goes beyond a superficial interest.’