The Beginners

by simon whetham

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  • Rebecca Sharp (poetry + images) with Simon Whetham (sound + images).
    A5 soft-cover book. Text, black and white photographs.

    (Limited edition with added USB card now sold out)

    A series of earthworks in Fife, visited in 2016 and 2018. Words, sounds and images gathered at each location, worked and reworked into a final form.

    Part deep-mapping, part wayward archaeology; wondering what happens to a place when the humans arrive - and what we leave behind. Illusions of power and permanence; unfolding understandings; timescales of change.

    "A bold and unsettling multi-media collection gathered from expeditions to ancient earthworks in the Kingdom of Fife. Sparse and challenging poetic fragments work closely with naturalistic images and soundscapes to create an installation that addresses both broad landscapes and detailed fieldwork; effectively fusing media to attempt to interpret mysterious and unknowable languages of landscape and nature. Striking and timeless as the wind, grass and stone it seeks to understand - an unforgettable experience." Andy Jackson (poet)

    "In the tradition of psychogeography and geopoetics, Sharp and Whetham have produced a collaboration that is more than the sum of its parts. In a short space, they have managed to evoke not only the age and layered history of an unfamiliar landscape, but the many-layered process by which the human mind can enter into conversation with it; the process of belonging. This is a pamphlet to savour." Elizabeth Rimmer (poet)

    Includes unlimited streaming of The Beginners via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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  • Full Digital Discography

    Get all 24 simon whetham releases available on Bandcamp and save 30%.

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality downloads of 10 mixes for Free, Amass: a site of increasing mass, especially as a result of neglect, dry, Forced to Repeat Myself, Double Deck, (R)ASSEMBLE, Open and Closed Circles, against nature, and 16 more. , and , .

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1.

about

Collaborative project with Rebecca Joy Sharp
Book publication now available!!

A series of earthworks in Fife, UK visited in 2016 and 2018:

Hazelton hut circle 56o 22’ 55” N 3o 04’ 30” W
Creich hill fort and homestead 56o 22’ 52” N 3o 05’ 51” W
Norman’s Law hill fort 56o 22’ 08” N 3o 07’ 33” W
Drumcarrow Craig homestead and broch 56o 18 ’32” N 2o 52’ 41” W

Rebecca and Simon first worked together in 2010 to make The Clearing (Gruenrekorder 2011) – a field recording of dawn chorus birdsong and live improvised harp, recorded over two mornings in a Liverpool park; meeting again in 2011 for Simon’s project Active Crossover.

Moving to rural Fife in 2014, Rebecca decided she wanted to make work about the process of looking for connection in a new environment. By contrast, Simon continually travels the world for residencies and commissions, forging temporal connections to new and varying locations.
They agreed that a new work could explore these combined experiences of presence, transience and meaning-making.

They met in Fife in September 2016 and August 2018, to visit and record a series of locations that Rebecca had identified as both ‘interesting’ and ‘nearby’: hut circles, forts and homesteads all marked in the Ordnance Survey maps by the distinctive curling script.

The lack of documentation and fanfare – and in some cases, visibility – made these locations ideal for the project; some appearing as an innocuous pile of rocks or a shadow in a field.

They found fragments at each location – in the form of words, phrases, sounds and images – gathered as raw material to be reworked later. In Simon’s final audio compositions, a once-strident voice is worn down; treated as just another texture in the landscape – poking out occasionally like rock through soil. And in its own way the text attempts to frame, name and describe these places – resorting to ever-abstracted imaginings.

Part deep-mapping, part wayward archaeology; wondering what happens to a place when the humans arrive – what becomes of us and what we leave behind. Illusions of power and permanence; unfolding understandings; timescales of change.

We are all of us beginners at some time, somewhere, to someone – most often to ourselves.

Rebecca Sharp 2020

credits

released July 11, 2019

Rebecca Sharp: text, voice, photos, concept
Simon Whetham: sounds, gestures, recordings, composition

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simon whetham UK

From working with field recordings to exploration of the acoustic qualities of a space and resonances of objects, Simon Whetham composes and performs immersive collages, both meditative and thought provoking...

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