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The New Vocal Club Artwork Weaves A Sonic Tapestry Of Voices From Across Perthshire

Opening in Perth Theatre on Friday 4 November, The New Vocal Club exhibition by artist Benjamin Owen gives voice to people from across Perthshire.

The New Vocal Club Artwork Weaves A Sonic Tapestry Of Voices From Across Perthshire

Part film installation, part oral history documentary, and part found-sound collage, The New Vocal Club is based on interviews and film recorded between 2021 and 2022 with local groups and communities including PKAVS, St Johnstone FC and local choirs. The resulting collage of film, free jazz, Gaelic song and textiles creates a sonic tapestry of voices.

Compositionally Owen draws from maverick Canadian pianist Glenn Gould's idea of what he called 'contrapuntal' radio, a term normally applied to music, in which independent melody lines play simultaneously. Visually the work references the language and design of a gig or recording studio with an assemblage of microphone stands, LED strips lights, stage curtains, and sonic baffling.

Free to view, this work of film, sound, and sculpture will be installed in the Perth Theatre foyer from Friday 4 until Friday 11 November. There will be a free opening event for anyone to attend from 6pm to 7.30pm on Friday 4 November featuring a performance by long-term conditions choir Vocal Chord with musicians Seth Bennett and Shiori Usio dovetailing the tune into the soundtrack of the film.

Benjamin Owen said:

"You may think you know your own voice, a constant companion throughout your life. Our voices connect us to our community, familiar and homely, yet the changes that unfold in our vocal expression over time can come as a surprise. How do we relate to our voice over time?"

Writer and critic Neil Cooper described it as: "a kind of Speakers Corner of the everyday", saying: "Few people speak in straight lines without preparation, so the stops and starts, the ums and ahs, the repetitions and the tos and fros of conversation create a musicality beyond the work's more straightforward function as oral history."

Commenting on the project, Patricia Burnett Support Worker from Perth's PKAVS Day Centre said:

"Edith and Ronnie thoroughly enjoyed their time spent with Ben talking about voices with live music, remembering times old and new."

The New Vocal Club features the voices of Peter and Jill, Mary and Richard, Aileen, Ronnie, Edith, David, Leigh, Steve, Liam, Debra, Emma, Ann, Bruce, Irma, Jonathan, Christie, Kerry, Seth Bennett, Shiori Usio.



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