The initial Dialogues workshop was conceived as an open-ended and explorative exchange between visual-art practice and sound-art practice in the presence of one another. The practitioners mimicked and mirrored each other’s actions upon their respective supports (white paper and white noise), creating marks and tone by obliterating the source of either reflected light or silence. Gradually, analogies and determinations were recognised and pursued. There were characteristics and activities common to both modes of instrumentality and their implementation. The noise made by the tapping of a pencil and sweep of an eraser or hand on or across the paper; the incremental accretion of marks upon marks, staccato gestures, smudges, scraping, and scratching found their correspondence in percussive noises, sound filtering and modulation, and sonic layering and looping, and vice versa. During the course of the workshop, properties and procedures such as height and depth, pitch, tone, density, repetition, interval, layering, pattern, obscuration, form and space, quiet and loudness, smoothness and texture, positive and negative and active and passive form, and stillness and movement emerged as elements that comprised a common grammar for creative interplay.
Dialogues2 responds to several visual and aural observations arising from the first workshop. First, that the sound produced by the friction and movement of a pencil or stick of charcoal across the paper support is an overlooked (underheard) bi-product of the act of drawing: a sonic trace that is ordinarily ephemeral and undetermined. One of the aims of the second workshop is to concentrate on, and foreground, the sound of drawing and its permutations (sound as drawing, drawing with sound, and the drawing of sound), and to give it permanence through audio recording. The sound of drawings made by one practitioner will be captured by microphonic pencils (‘pencrophones’) and upon an ‘electro-acoustic drawing board’, passed through a series of analogue and digital sound filters (which will mutate, loop, and sustain the source) manipulated by another practitioner, and, thereafter, amplified. In so doing, visual drawing is conceived as, also, an aural and performative activity engaged by two participants. Secondly, the workshop examines the observation that the sound of drawing possesses an indeterminate pitch-melody, which can be mapped onto a musical scale. The participants will deploy exercises that test the relationship between the pencil (here, conceived as a musical instrument), sound drawing, and free-form music, in cooperation with other types of musical instrumentation (in this context, a hybrid electric guitar).