Guest Blog: Mark Garry

We invited Mark Garry to write a blog post to mark his performance at The Front Room, a new music series at The Model. Mark wrote the following text on how he integrate's music and sound in his practice.

Music like most people in the world has played a formative role in my life. Beginning with being exposed to music by my mother and brother and my uncle and aunt. One of the most defining events was seeing the English band The Smiths on Top of the Pops as a teenager, and this is when I began to collect vinyl.

Sound, music and musicology have persisted as a crucial area of questioning and this is made manifest in a number of ways within my practice. As part of my early curatorial activity I commissioned and released work by a number of artists and musicians on vinyl and digital formats. These include:The Warlords of Pez (2001) Karl Him and Chquerboard (2002) Secret society and Sanso Xtro.(2004). I have engaged in various forms of creative research in music/sound art practices and have published a number of papers within this field. My sound related activities have been broadly disseminated most recently in Volume Magazine in 2013 as part of an interview special that also included contributions by Olaf Nicolai, David Sanson, Mungo Thompson Steve Roden, Sébastien Roux and Anri Sala. I have performed and released music as part of an improvised music trio called A=apple. Since 2009 I have organized social events that involve collective listening, these are weekly or monthly events where participants share music and listen collectively in the form of a Listening Club. I began by hosting these events in my studio but have more recently been invited by institutions to host open public version of these events.

I have been commissioned to make a number of permanent outdoor sonic sculptures. I often locate participatory musical devices in my installations, these allow the audience to become performers in the piece and have a haptic relationship with the sonic activation of the space.

Many of these works stem from an interest in Music’s fluidity as an art form and its scope to act both as a container of histories and political and social instances and the particular manner in which it continues to evolve and integrate complex influences and retain legibility.

The most consistent sonic/musical element of my practice have been a series of musical collaborations that I have made manifest in a number of Irish and international institutions. Where I collaborate with a collective of five musicians who work in a diverse range of genres and come from broad variety of backgrounds. While we invite new musicians for each project this collective remain the central core, who collectively respond to a new set of conceptual criteria with each specific project. This collective is made up of Karl Burke, Eileen Carpio, Sean Carpio, Nina Hynes, Fabien Leseure. I will briefly describe three of these collaborative projects.

Sending Letters to the sea. Sending Letters to the sea was a public art work commissioned by Fingal County Council’s arts office. This project began in 2007 as a body of research looking at the manner in which the development of modern music was effected by specific structural instances within the history of religion. I assembled a collective of music makers*, who were invited to respond to this research material. This collective came together and made a series of recordings in Berlin. This project culminated in a performance and the release of an album on Vinyl and digital formats.

A Generous Act. A Generous Act was a collaborative music project that was commissioned as part of a curatorial residency I undertook at The Mattress Factory Art Museum in Pittsburgh PA. This project combined a residency, performance, a set of recordings an exhibition, series of films and a musical archive. Integrating a comprehensive collection of research sources and conceptual frameworks to investigate the societal influences that combine to form specific generative processes in contemporary music making.

The Museum transformed the fourth floor museum to become a practice area and fully functioning recording studio, I invited the aforementioned collective of musicians and four new musicians to undertake this residency. I then invited the staff members from the museum to collaborate with these musicians enabling a unique situation where the staff were directly involved in generating what was presented at the museum.

A Winter Light (2014) This project was unusual in that although it involved my working with many of the same personnel as Sending Letters to the sea and A Generous Act and also involved our transforming a space to become a functioning practice area and recording studio, it was the first time that the collective responded directly to the art works and conceptual criteria of an exhibition of mine. This exhibition entitled A Winter Light[1] took place at The Model in Sligo.In a broad sense this exhibition investigated the inseparability of the personal from the political. The musicians were made aware of the development each artwork for a seven-month period prior to the residency/recording session.

For this Front Room I will play some wax cylinders on an Edison Phonogram, and speak a little about the history of recorded music and about Vinyl as a form archive and slow technology. I will play and chat about a wide variety of music that I have been listening to, or have found interesting over the past few years.

Mark Garry takes to the turntable on Thursday 12 September from 8pm at The Model to share his music and discuss Songs and the Soil his up-coming solo show at MAC, Belfast.

Admission: Free, includes one welcome drink.