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POLYRHYTHMIC

(a rough transcript of my final Masters presentation)

"Music is intangible and invisible, and yet it can have such a powerful effect on us. I want to explore the possibilities of translating electronic dance music into three dimensions: into jewellery.

Ever since I started training as a jeweller, I’ve noticed a lot of similarities between contemporary goldsmithing techniques used in jewellery design and modern electronic production techniques and methods, mostly while watching interviews with my favourite music producers. The attention to detail and in-depth technical knowledge really stood out to me as something I had also experienced in my jewellery training.

I began my historical research by looking at artists whose work is closely related to music: Paul Klee is mostly know as an expressionist painter but he was also a musician. He wrote of the potential analogies between music and the visual arts, saying that colour could be compared to musical sonority, and percussive rhythms to visual composition. One of Klee’s paintings, ‘Fugue in Red” from 1921, contains many similarities to Bach’s “Toccata And Fugue in D Minor” - you can really see, or hear, the similarities.

Jackson Pollock was known for his technique of dripping and splattering paint onto his canvasses an intuitive, innovative way of painting that could be compared to the improvisation found in Jazz music. Both can seem very free and expressive: compare “Autumn Rhythm” by Pollock to “Autumn Leaves” played by Oscar Peterson.

For hundreds of years, music has been traditionally written down in a way that is considered straightforward for other people to read and perform. The western stave and treble clef has become almost synonymous with written music. John Cage and his contemporaries started developing their own ways of writing and visualising their compositions. Since then, countless styles and methods have emerged for visualising music in representative, yet illustrative ways.

While doing this research it was clear to me that a good starting point for my “translation” would be to look at creating my own kind of musical notation for electronic dance music. Fortunately for me, one of the master-classes last year was called “Sound to Glyph”. Over the course of the five days I developed my own writing system for electronic dance music, which I called “Encoder”.

My pieces are all made from stainless steel wire. Because of the nature of stainless steel, it is very impractical to solder so I use a laser-welding machine. The laser-welder allows me to work very accurately and delicately. The stainless steel wire is also highly polished, and perfectly straight, which creates a fantastic, glimmering effect.

Wassily Kandinsky’s ‘Composition IV (4)’ is particularly relevant in this instance, as it’s quite colourful, which brings us back to Paul Klee’s idea that colour could be compared to musical sonority, and percussive rhythms to visual composition. The KLIAR Nano-ceramic e-coating solution gave me excellent results when I introduced colour to my work, to represent sonority and harmony."

Note: Some of my thoughts, understandings and ideas have changed since I graduated, but this description matches the work and I think thats important.

 

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