was a piece commissioned by the Glass Tank Gallery team at Oxford Brookes University, specifically for their exhibition of Alice Anderson’s work, and was performed at the opening evening on 29 February 2016. Recall was performed by Audrey Riley and Roger Linley thanks to the support of the Sonic Art Research Unit. It was filmed by Natalia Punton, who is an undergraduate at Oxford Brookes University, completing a BA in Film.
Alice’s work impressed me most by its reference to how everything decays from the moment it is made. Everything begins to degrade, fragment or crumble over time – either with assistance or when left to its own devices. To bind objects in copper wire – or situate it within a metal case – is to suspend the life course of that object; at least for a human conception of time and memory concerning it. For the object will continue to decay inside its new exterior, and the exterior will also be doing the same. Moreover, the binding of an object with another object that is fragile – but wonderfully ephemeral in itself – is to comment profoundly on this process. More specifically the suspension of time and memory as practiced by us, and how this practice has some essential qualities but its methods and outcomes are fluid. The gleaming wire is also a mouthpiece for the history and stories of the human owner or owners of that object. This becomes a lively element of your enquiry with the objects displayed; their past and present function are heightened by the capturing of shape and potential motion.
Recall seeks to meditate on this by focusing on each string of the cello and double bass, as well as a variety of string techniques; thus to evoke the process of binding wire around an object, and encapsulate the sonic world of that process. The varying intensities of sound and how they fall away to apparent silence seeks to address how we can reconcile ourselves to the idea of decay; wherefore we are inclined to fetishise the construction and process of our lives down to the minutiae. The four cells of musical material are actively cut up and rethought, repeated, interrupted and remembered by the performers; in order to actively demonstrate how many different instances with many situational variances create an overriding, consolidated memory of an object. Much of the material played is done so using mutes and positioned close to the bridge of the instruments, which creates a sound world that is distorted and restrained to reflect how the objects in Alice’s body of work have been translated and transformed. How they fundamentally remain recognisable, but demand to be relearnt in their new form.