The Harvest Reaper, soundscape by Michiel Turner (2021)
The Moray Firth has a rich sea life including dolphins, orcas, mackerel, flatfish, basking sharks and many other enigmatic creatures. Paradoxically, it also hosts a graveyard of unutilised oil rigs. Moray's fishing history oscillates between local pride and systemic depression. ‘The Harvest Reaper’ is an old fishing vessel built in Fraserburgh in 1904 that stood weathering on the side of the quay in Burghead from the 1980s until 2015 but has recently been restored by Peter Wilson and a group on community service. This soundscape manifests itself into a tale of human loss and tragedy while articulating an inseparability between human life and nature.
The All-Inevitable Ritual, interactive sound sculpture by Michiel Turner (2022)
The All-Inevitable Ritual investigates human-machine relationships in a posthuman era. Inspired by Donna Haraway’s, A Cyborg Manifesto (1991, p.150), the work explores relationships between “machine and organism”; the sculpture is smothered in moss, illustrating this inseparability. The main visual focus is a nameless and genderless robot made from cardboard, Papier-mâché, camera lenses, circuit boards, and natural materials. Three smaller metal figures made from copper wire stand in awe of the robot, conveying humankind's innate historical desire for religious or spiritual experience, which has been largely replaced with the instantaneous stimulation provided by technology. This idea was catalysed when reading Carl G. Jung’s, The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious (1959, p.13) and considering his argument that people stop believing in Gods when they concede that “they are made by human hands, useless idols of wood and stone”; I argue that we all worship the machine, hence the title The All-Inevitable Ritual. The music is made from waves of sound that vary in length and loop together in mercuriality, an electronic take on Brian Eno’s, Ambient 1: Music for Airports (1978). Additionally, there is a consistent stream of outdoor ambience. The soundscape imitates the visuals in its synchronisation of nature and machine; it is somewhat ethereal, aiming to elicit feelings of calmness and tranquility. Olafur Eliasson, who often uses natural elements and clever lighting to create his work, influenced much of the curation of my sculpture. Notably, audiences are encouraged to pick up a torch and use it to explore the robot's architecture; this allows them to play with the shadows and alter the dynamics of the piece. Audiences are also directed to engage with its tactility, using any copper materials to trigger sounds. Distinctly, spectators can place their hand in the moss and activate a two-minute guided meditation that gradually feels more dystopian and unsettling. The feeling of the moss should be visceral and stimulate a connection with nature. Some participants may be willing to immerse themselves in the meditation, whereas others may detach from the experience. Users have autonomy over their own choices; however, many will feel manipulated to participate. I hoped to pay homage to Luigi Russolo’s, The Art of Noises: Futurist Manifesto (1913), by including industrial noises; I reason that my sculpture is a contemporary model of ‘noise machine’ in Haraway’s believed cyborg world. When touching the copper wire figures, a chant/song is played as a prayer to the robot representing their worship of the machine.
Window, film by Alice Hill-Woods, sound by Michiel Turner (2020)
Collaborative piece engaging with the feelings associated with 'opening a window'.
Original poetry and film by alice hill-woods. soundscapes by michiel turner.
Created as a performance piece for final year hybrid forms, university of glasgow. 2020.