A few weeks ago I went for a walk in my neighbourhood, I was passing a primary school at playtime and was struck by the unmistakeable sound of children at play is carried in the surrounding area. I wanted to go back at the same time to record it but missed the opportunity and then it was half term. Last Monday I googled the local school and saw it was sports day so I set off with my ambeo headset to record the sound from a distance. The headset app has an option to amplify the Transparent hearing level (TH). I usually opt for this because it really focusses on what you are listening to and has probably saved me from being run over as traffic sounds terrifyingly loud!
The sound of sports day did not disappoint, but it was also bin day, which at first was a bit disappointing, but I decided to go with it. The head set can be used to take a call if you receive one, but unfortunately recording this can be problematic because interference as it tries to get signal. It's best to record with the phone in airplane mode to avoid receiving a call mid take.
As now seeing people talk on phones using headsets or airPods is commonplace, I decided to improvise a conversation with my twin sister as I walked, a street away back past the school. No one would know I was talking to myself.....would they?
The effect of spending a lot of time focussing on ambient sound has made me even more aware of enormously noisy our lives are. Sometimes my acute sense of hearing can be annoying for example when a continuous high pitched sound of a faulty usb adapter plugged into an extension lead, that no one else in my family can detect distracts me to the point that I can't sleep and have to eliminate the problem.
The advantage with regularly using the headset for field recording is a kind of high tech mindfulness walking practice, which I am enjoying. The Ted Ellis Nature Reserve being a particularly good place for this. As ever road noise has been almost impossible to get away from in this film, with the exception of the scene "I had a dream about the Birds", but it was filmed in the highlands of Scotland at 5.30 am.
Last Wednesday I had a Zoom meeting about the Arts Council England application for the Develop Your Own Creative Practice grant. I'm working with an experienced bid writer though the Arts Council access grant, which I have applied for because of my own neuro diversity, ADHD, a bonus generous sprinkling of Dyslexia and Irlen syndrome, (a light sensitivity which makes reading back print on a white background difficult and tiring.) Despite working on numerous Arts Council funded projects, This is the first time that I have applied to the Arts Council in my own right. I have always avoided bid writing because the application forms have felt so daunting and overwhelming.
The meeting really useful meeting to discuss the potential of what I could do with it. BUT having a bid writer does not mean that I don't have to do anything, I still have to formulate the project, what I am asking to develop, what do I want to learn? who I might ask to mentor, attend courses and work out the budget. The next round of applications open on the 5th August! So I have yet another deadline to meet within this project.
I have begun researching artists and courses that might be useful in further development and while I would prefer to do a short course in 360 audio person it may well have to be online.
I am in the process of devising a list of people I would like to learn from and see if there is an opportunity to do this within the DYCP Grant.
Scenographer Dr Roma Patel