During the first 2 years of my University MA course I developed a compositional style and approach that sought to bring complex and challenging subjects to the attention of the public. I produced pieces that looked at the refugee crisis, mental health issues, and UK Military deaths during the Afghanistan conflict.
I discovered that although the pieces all had the desired effect on the people engaging with the art it was I, as the artist, who had the most profound reaction to the subjects. The act of deeply engaging with the material, spending many hours piecing things together and the sheer scale of some of the pieces gave me a unique insight into the subject. I enjoyed the challenge and being absorbed in the creative process.
When I was looking for a subject to focus on for my final project piece there were a number of media articles on the suicide rate in the UK. The statistic that shocked me was the high ratiio of male to female instances of dying by suicide. This seemed an interesting and worthy subject to explore and to see how sound art might be used to illuminate the issue.
So commenced the ‘Sound art and the stigma of suicide ideation’ project. I felt that a new branded vehicle would be useful to compartmentalise my work of this type. I had worked with a number of different artists by this time and felt that something to describe these collaborations would be a suitable approach. So I started ‘The Blue Penguin Collective’ which would co-ordinate all works seeking to challenge the public and address complex and often controversial issues.
The current project is in the data-gathering phase, there is an online questionnaire that is being used to gather experience from men who have had suicide ideation. There are also paper copies of the questionnaire in strategic locations. The underlying cause and effect of stigma around this subject mean that it is very difficult to reach those who have personal experience of the subject so this is a particularly challenging area to work in. Over the next few months I will be analysing the data and exploring ways to present this using sound art.
These first few blogs have brought us to the current day and described a little of each of the projects that I am involved in. The subsequent blogs will describe the progress in these and other areas and go into more detail about the processes and techniques I use as an artist and the challenges that I face along the way.
Next time: Songwriting and FAWM