experimental tactile scores at riversong arts festival

A set of sensory and spatial experiments for 30 youth at Riversong Arts Festival in rural Eastern Cape (South Africa). Culminating in the mapping of 2 spirals formed of 8 tactile scores. The scores were 60cm long, compiled in groups from found objects, with each centimetre relating to one second of sound. They were then challenged to reinterpret other scores through drawing and touch. The intention was to provide these abstract scores to older musicians to ‘read’, interpret and play, though due to the literal-ness of their drawings, I decided to not continue with this last stage.

The experiments allowed for a learning experience beyond the testing of the forms and direction. As the youth were from rural backgrounds, compared to those I had spent time with in urban spaces, they were far less upfront at the start – this would have also been affected by the presence of a foreign facilitator. There was also a clear language barrier, with this being the first time I had to facilitate with a translator (unfamiliar to my work) to communicate the direction in Xhosa, her spoken language was not something I could check or correct, so without doubt there would have been miscommunication. Unfortunately I cannot tell what the results of the scores and interpretations would have been if I had been able to communicate effectively, whether they could have been more abstract, innovative and personalised.

The aim was to also discuss the 360º environment around us, as well as the natural surroundings beyond the walls of the venue, with this came a mild disruption. The original found objects were mainly plastic items, which gave us the opportunity to tangentially discuss the presence of waste in the community, and allowed for two scores to be made, one ‘man-made’ and one organic.

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