Room To Play Week 2

“After starting the room the play sessions the week before, I was really excited to go back to Custom House now that I felt settled in and completely at ease with everyone. Working with the loveliest and most enthusiastic, inspiring group of people is really helping me to find the motivation to make stuff and it was brilliant to  immediately get stuck in and not feel shy about it.

This week Yann focussed more on sound and we started off the day doing some group work based on conceptual works by composers such as John Cage. Our group ended up creating a piece where everyone listened to a 4:33 recording of the inside of a bathroom whilst staring at the Water of Leith. Though a very strange experience, it really helped me to  open up and find the confidence to try stuff out, regardless of whether or not I knew it would work.

The afternoon however is when I really got into it and got excited about making. Despite the fact the it’s possibly one of the fiddliest tasks I think I’ve ever done, learning how to make cassette tape loops was the most fun I’ve had in ages. Odd as it sounds, it’s a very addictive process! Everyone got really interesting results and a big though lot of the time they didn’t work, it was always the experiments and the times when things did go wrong that people got the most exciting sounds happening. Even when we tried to build an installation from it and it didn’t exactly go to plan, the unexpected results just left me wanting to make more.

As someone coming from a visual arts background I’ve never really tried, or felt like I was able to have the confidence, to work with sound, and I’ve certainly never known how to approach the technicalities of disrupting and distorting sounds. Learning this week how easy it was to do with charity shop cassette tapes and cheap Walkmans just made me want to go home and keep trying and experimenting and seeing what would happen. My work in the studio at the minute is playing around with the abstraction and distortion of information and I’m really motivated to take the skills I learnt and ideas inspired by everyone in the group back to my own work and see what happens.
I was also really lucky this week that the experimental process didn’t stop for me with the Room to Play workshop as I was also able to attend the Tinderbox Orchestra Session on Sunday and I can’t recommend it highly enough to anyone that plays an instrument and just wants to have fun with it. I’ve always played the violin, and whilst I’ll always love the sorts of classical orchestras I grew up playing in, I’d become slightly tired of the sameness of amateur symphony orchestras and I was  looking for an opportunity to fall in love with playing again and this was the most incredible experience to achieve that. I continued learning skills, here in improvisation and new types of music, and it kept up my excitement for trying new stuff out, giving things a go and not being so scared. It was the most amazing thing to just hear an orchestra listening to each other and everyone working together and that Sunday afternoon session has kept a smile on my face all week”.

-Rhona Sword (Room To Play Artist).