2015 Update: Manchester, Todmorden, Venice

A short report of what I've been doing during the last few months including a specially recorded new track, a residency and performances at Noise Above Noise and an exhibition in Venice. I have also been recording, mixing and editing a new release of experimental recordings to be released soon I will write about in a separate post.

Hoor de Vogels / Listen The Birds new recording for the opening of Fundevogel space
In April the Fundevogel space opened in Todmorden, West Yorkshire as a new DIY venue for arts and sound events. At the opening celebration there was an exhibition and concert by specially invited artists. I recorded a new piece of bird-themed sound work for the exhibition.

"A collage of sounds from a series of 18 vinyl records of various European bird sounds. Originally released in Holland and the UK for bird enthusiasts, here the records, found in a   record stall in Manchester some years ago, become a curiosity, a discovery from a time passed and a found material to inspire new compositions."


Noise Above Noise residency at The Penthouse, Manchester

During April 2015 I was artist in residence for the Noise Above Noise program at The Penthouse, a residency of working on new live sound works for performance. I was staying in Italy during the first few months of 2015 with a now ex-partner and flew to Manchester with a very limited set of materials from which to develop new work. These included a vibration speaker, an old pocket transistor radio and some guitar pegs.

Arrangement of objects in the studio, Noise Above Noise 2015

With my limited budget I bought a 10 metre long roll of paper and experimented with interacting with it and the kinds of sounds I could make, both with contact microphones and purely acoustic. This formed the basis of one of the live performances. I made a series of videos of experimenting with materials found around the space and on the street in Manchester including: a metal file drawer, broken digital radio and a jug full of screws.

Noise Above Noise 2015 Youtube videos playlist

Also during the residency a new series of prints were made by taking thoughts and ideas about sound that were not necessarily fully formed and then printing them letter by letter with black ink onto A3 graph paper. The process of printing them rather than just writing them down meant they became more permanent works and tangible artworks based on not particularly precious ideas.

Birdcall Print and hand-made birdcall instrument 2015

Noise Above Noise performances with Matt Dalby and Helmut Lemke

24/04 + 25/04, 2015

NAN Residency Special flyer

Towards the end of the residency two performance events took place with myself and friends and fellow artists Helmut Lemke and Matt Dalby as Tear Fet each performing experimental solo sound works. Tear Fet made an uncompromising vocal improvisation and Helmut set up an apparently complicated contraption for listening to the sounds of the environment through the vibrations in the glass of the windows and made a visual representation of the sounds.

The first of my performances took place in The Penthouse corridor and involved the large paper roll with two contact microphones and two amplifiers. The paper was unrolled along the corridor with the audience sitting and standing along one side, it was then pulled, dragged, scratched, screwed up folded and thrown around in the corridor causing a range of small and loud, amplified and acoustic sounds. Later I made a second improvised performance using a 'scrap guitar' made from found wood, the guitar pegs, a tuna can and some strings from toy guitar bough from a charity shop. Found objects were played against the strings in a succession of sound making actions.

The second event was held at the Fundevogel space in Todmorden, West Yorkshire and was another improvisation with the scrap guitar and some electronics. A last minute decision was made to time the performance based on a recording I found in my mobile phone of a field recording made while walking in London from Elephant and Castle to the South Bank. The phone was included in the set up and parts of the recording were mixed with the rest of the improvisation as it played in real time.

Rob Pruitt's Flea Market in Venice 

05/05 - 08/05 2015, Press Week at Venice Biennale


This event, devised by the American artist Rob Pruitt, transformed the A+A Gallery in Venice into an eclectic market with all the stalls held by artists selling and promoting their own work.

For this event I collaborated with artist Gilda Manfring to hold a stall in the flea market selling found objects as "experimental sound art instruments". We attached labels to some of the objects with ideas and thoughts about sound. A dog toy with "Instrument for a dog" and a packet of crisps with "Homage a John Cage" being two of my favourites. Some visitors were confused as to weather we were serious or not, which was nice. The point really was to just give people something to think about in relation to sound. Also I sold the remaining copies of my book "Document For Approaching The Object" which are now in Canada, America and Spain as well as one copy with the gallery owner.

From the RPFMV press release:
"From MAY 5TH TO MAY 8TH, 2015, during the press preview days of the VENICE ART BIENNALE, American artist Rob Pruitt will bring his renowned project “ROB PRUITT’S FLEA MARKET” to Venice FOR THE FIRST TIME. Taking place at A plus A Gallery, a renewed exhibiting venue in the heart of Venice (only few steps far from Palazzo Grassi), it is organized by the students of the “22nd Course in Curatorial Practices and Contemporary Arts” at The School for Curatorial Studies Venice.

The project is curated by Tommaso Speretta.
The gallery will be transformed into an EXCITING SPACE OF EXCHANGE. It’s all based on a real flea market, where need, greed and expression all come together.
As Venice has for many centuries been a crucial crossroads of cultural and trade exchange, making it the ideal location for such an event, this particular incarnation of “Rob Pruitt’s Flea Market” is poised to exploit the art world and its personalities who will be descending upon Venice, functioning parallel to the Biennale as an ALTER- NATIVE (ALBEIT MORE “LO-FI”) EXPERIENCE. During the preview days of the Art Biennale, a wide audience of “art insiders” – artists, curators, critics, journalists – converges with the local community and the complex dynamics of such a unique city, resulting in an EXCITING SOCIAL SITUATION."
The Flea Market was reported in several arts magazines and blogs and received much positive press which can be seen in the facebook page above.

Here is a write-up from My Art Guides: http://www.myartguides.com/venice-art-biennale-2015/events/item/4992-rob-pruitt-flea-market

Venice 2015