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  • Matthew Shenton

Reconciled


I am blogging whilst planing my next project in order to explore the decisions I make, and to build a better vocabulary and understanding of my sound work.


Exploring the physical and material properties of the objects I use is very important to my work. I have always favoured analogue equipment over virtual instruments for that feeling that runs through your fingers as you adjust a knob and for the imperfections that each machine brings. I sometimes open them up for a little circuit bending and (as my soldering skills are lacking) can get some unique and unexpected results.


I also use DAWs such as Ableton Live and Audacity for arrangement, mixing and adding post recording effects to the recorded instruments. It can be rewarding to  bounce a tape recording into Live for tweaking or obliterating and then record the result back on to tape.


For this next project I know that I want to use the physical and analogue properties of the old 35mm slides, but that also I will need to use the digital processing of something like iMovie to arrange the final visual piece that will be used to inspire an accompanying composition.


The bag of slides had sat untouched in a cupboard since I had digitised them, but over Xmas 2022 they started to return my thoughts more and more often, and I was considering their form, their power and their potential.


At a very basic level the slides had been purchased by me and I was now the owner of around one hundred pieces of celluloid (that probably could not be recycled) framed in cardboard sleeves (that probably could be recycled). Sending them to landfill seemed a waste.


I mentioned in an earlier blog entry that the slides had initially confused me and had made me feel scared. The power that they held was in the depictions of family memory - but of families and memories now lost. Of holidays and friendships that had once mattered but could no longer be traced. The physical form of the image on the slide did not hold any power without having the ability to link it with the associated memory. As a family we look at family pictures and immediately link the image to the time and place, and also to the sensory input we were feeling when the image was captured. It had take a while, but once I realised this I felt free to put the slides to a new use and feel reconciled and comfortable in doing so.


Their potential now lay in their physical and material properties, and in how I could alter their appearance: even if that meant that the physical image would be irrevocably changed forever.

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