Sonemics was a collaboration in 2012 with Glasgow-based filmmaker Kate Burton which gave rise to a number of live audiovisual pieces. The project came about through an invitation by John Cavanagh to create an event for the SoundLab series at Glasgow’s City Halls, and this was followed up by a commission from Glasgow’s Tramway (sonemics II). The approach was to use some of Kate’s film material as a basis for simultaneous live cutting of sound and image, leading first to a performance with her film Wild Lines. Kate then did some filming at the Ritz Café in Millport, which has amazing old Formica surfaces on the tables and walls. Kate’s filming gave rise to the idea of ‘surface exploration’, and this ended up underpinning the whole sonemics project. With the Ritz material, the sound and video were again live cut together, as a performance, with the sound made from various prerecorded concrète and synthetic sources. It’s presented here as sonemics I.
This performance also saw the first outing of a simple and cheap little arduino-based optical theremin controller I built, which controls the sound and video playhead. It’s useful because it’s very intuitive to use, seems to work whatever the lighting conditions, and lets me really ‘lean in’ to perform – it actually seems to be quite expressive and subtle.