Sound Art and Acousmatic and Sonic Objects

  • Martin Kay (Australia)
    public talks, performances, and workshops

    Yerevan, Armenia
    April-July, 2011

The four-month residency program at the ‘Art Commune’ (ACSL) by Australian sound artist Martin Kay was full of diverse activities and professional input in the contemporary art and educational context of Armenia. Martin Kay’s first performance took place at the ‘Deep Club’ and was followed by a public talk on electro-acoustic music in collaboration with Armenian composer Hayk Melikyan at the Naregatsi Art Institute in Yerevan (April, 2011). Both events outlined his practice as a sound recordist, artist, and designer, while also explaining the artistic process of listening, recording, and composing that he goes through. Presenting his work in a chronological order and talking about the influences that had inspired him throughout the years, he tried show step-by-step the transformation of his work–from sample based industrial-techno collages to environmental soundscape composition and installation art. The artists also gave an additional talk focusing on electro-acoustic composition, with a particular emphasis on soundscape music and music-concrete. This talk focused on some key theories behind these genres including acousmatic listening, reduced listening, and the sonic object, as well as discussed how the psychological and emotional impact of sound in environments can be viewed and utilized in a musical frame.

Martin Kay also carried out a series of workshops with the students of the Department of Fine Arts of the Armenian Open University and the High School of Arts of the Mekhitar Sebastatsi Educational Complex (June-July, 2011). Later in Australia, after the accomplished residency program at the ‘Art Commune in Yerevan, Martin Kay presented the outcome of his three-month residency in collaboration with his wife Heesun Choi, Korean installation artist who had done the residency program together with him. This new body of work comprised of an immersive multi-channel soundtrack to portray a hyperreal and abstract reflection of Yerevan’s unique sonic environments. It also employed photography and collage techniques to draw attention to how the architectural, mechanical, and visually aesthetic elements of the city interact with their sonic counterparts.

Martin Kay is a Melbourne-based sound recordist, artist and designer primarily working with environmental sound recordings and found-sonic objects, these materials are then sculpted to produce a hybrid of noise, ambient, music-concrete and drone (electro-acoustic) compositions. His works have a strong focus on the environmental, atmospheric, spatial, textural and theatrical aspects of sound composition. Having been greatly inspired by the use of sound in film and anime, he draws upon the construction and editing techniques within the soundtrack to produce hyper-real and abstract representations of the spaces and objects he has recorded.
Working in the realms of live-performance, composition, installation & sound design, his recent projects include collaborations with sound artists Darrin Verhagen (Shinjuku Thief) and Nick Van Cuylenburg, theatre productions with director Daniel Schlusser.

Heesun Choi (b. in 1974, Seoul, Korea) studied in National School of Fine Arts in Cergy-Paris (France) majoring in visual expression. Her works have been exhibited in Europen, Korea, Canada and Australia. In recent years Heesun’s installation practice has arrived at intersection between art-direction for film and illustration. She is now lives and works in Melbourne, Australia.