What if we could hear ourselves as other hear us?
Experimental musician, sound artist and researcher James Wyness completed a week-long residency with Skimstone Arts during May 2017, supported by Arts Council England’s Elevate fund.
During that week, James created a public engagement project which investigates the attitudes, perceptions and impressions of individuals listening back to the sound of their own voices.
A conversation is recorded and then played back to the participant, allowing them to focus on their own voice. The subsequent comments and observations are again recorded with the process revealing a range of complex issues around identity, self-esteem, self-awareness, belonging and our place in the wider world.
“James’s extensive knowledge about sound and the engagement of a range of people to really focus on and value the uniqueness of the human voice was an especially poignant project in today’s Brexit led environment,” said Claire Webster Saaremets of Skimstone Arts.
James also worked with members of the Skimstone Arts Young Artists Collective, using instruments as experimental sound making tools. “Our highlight today was working with James to create new sounds. We’re going to try and use these ideas to create an intro to a song for the band,” said Ben and Carlene from the Young Artists Collective.
James said: “The residency at Skimstone gave me time, space and support to realise a project that I couldn’t have achieved otherwise. I was delighted to have been selected for the residency because I couldn’t have tested and evaluated the work without Skimstone’s input, nor could I have found willing volunteers to participate in the recording sessions. I now know that the work is feasible, that I will have a good outcome to present to the public and that I can begin to replicate it in other locations with new people, new voices. The work I did alongside Claire and Peter with the young artists taught me several valuable lessons on the power and potential that the arts have with respect to channelling the considerable reserves of energy that young people possess, how guided artistic practice can unleash creative potential, bolstering self-esteem and offering possible futures that would have been otherwise impossible.”
The residency was supported by Arts Council England’s Elevate fund.