Artist: Cathy Lane
Title: The Pickle Jar is her home | ©
photo by: Cathy Lane
This composition is an multi-faceted exploration of food as a material, a commodity and as a sounding substance. It also aims to explore the many relationships between food and sound from their basic ephemerality to the links and metaphors that tie them as materials to be processed and transformed – from ideas of “mixing”, “chopping”, “cutting” and “blending”. Mixed, cut and blended together in this ‘ear-piece’ are sound recordings, from both the UK and India, of food being prepared and cooked, of the places where food is grown and sold, of people and companies selling food and food products and of people talking about food that reminds them of home and childhood and foods that they like to cook and how to prepare them.
The research for this piece into personal and global food culture included looking into how food, spices and materials have been and are still central to colonialism and how political exchanges have influenced food, food preparation and taste. This seems particularly pertinent in India where battles between small producers and agribusiness which have, by and large, been long lost in Western Europe are very much current and where strong regional food cultures seem to still be holding up against and possibly enriched by cultural invasions from Europe and the US. I am also interested in people’s emotional investment in food – as a carrier of memory and of ideas of “home”. Composing with spoken word material and with ‘real world’ recordings have been long held practices of mine combined with an interest in memory and how this can be both triggered and preserved in sound.
The links and metaphors between food and sound have also been used structurally in the compositional process particularly in the spatialisation and movement of sounds where gestures and spatial motifs used in cooking and preparing food have informed the organisation, distribution and movement of sounds between the speakers. This is part of a long held practice based research trajectory into gestural metaphor as a structuring process in sonic composition.
Thanks to all the interview participants, Srishti College of Art, Bangalore, London College of Communication, Sujata and Anurag at Rainforest Retreat.
Cathy Lane is interested in sound and how it relates to the past, our histories, our environment and our collective and individual memories. This informs her current work as a composer, sound artist, lecturer and researcher.
She has recently edited Playing with Words: The Spoken Word in Artistic Practice, (available from Cornerhouse Books ) an anthology of works from over forty leading contemporary sound artists and composers who use words as their material and inspiration. A companion audio compilation will be available in mid 2010 on Gruenrekorder.
Cathy Lane co – directs Creative Research in Sound Arts Practice, (CRiSAP) at the University of the Arts, London.