Sound + Music Videos

Sound is an integral part of my practice; both it's presence and absence.  It is often the starting point of a work.

Torcher ChamberArkestra is my collaborative band. All of our instruments are glass and I make them live during performances. I also have had help making many of them and some are hacked labware. Our line-up has changed over the years, but that was always the intention; that the band could morph with our interests and location.

Ausklingen (Fade Away)

The installation transforms the Reading Room at the Veste Coburg, in Coburg, Germany, into an intimate space of glass, sound and emotions. The room becomes a giant musical instrument. Visitors are invited to sit, to think, to rest and gently to play the thousands of glass chimes that transform this contemplative space. This installation hung in the Veste Coburg from September 2018-March 2019. Ausklingen is the first public installation in my series of passing places.

I spent four years making thousands of icicles for this installation. They are all flameworked borosilicate glass and they are all hollow. The length, width, and volume of air inside determines the pitch of each icicle. I sell similar ones in my shop.

Ausklingen (Fade Away)

The Great and the Good

The Great and the Good is both object and film. A mirrored flameworked borosilicate glass lamb rotates on a recording of the final scene of Francis Poulenc's opera Dialogue of the Carmelites. This opera is set during the French Revolution and tells the story of a fearful noblewoman who tries to escape the world by joining a Carmelite convent. The nuns are sentenced to death and in the final scene there is one less voice as each nun climbs the scaffold to be guillotined, as a passively complicit crowd watches. First produced in the aftermath of World War II, its depiction of the persecution of religious groups and social classes is relevant today. This recording appears on the RCA label. Their motto "His Master's Voice" appears in French on the label, where along with other European nations and the United States, there is concern of rising fascism and autocracy. The "Great" refers both to Great Britain and recent political campaign slogans in the United States. I am a citizen of both countries. The lamb is ambiguous with symbolism as perhaps sacrificial animal or non-thinking mob mentality and thoughtless action. The spinning mirrored lamb shows a distorted view of the observer and their environment. No glue holds the lamb on the record: it could easily be taken off its circular trajectory by the slightest of actions.

The Great and The Good

Film: Shannon Tofts
Edit: Carrie Fertig
Sound: Denise Duval, Liliane Berton, Régine Crespin, Gisèle Desmoutiers, Janine Fourrier, Choeurs du Theatre National de l'Opera de Paris, Orchestre du Théâtre National de l'Opéra de Paris & Pierre Dervaux conductor, Francis Poulenc, Dialogues Des Carmelites

The Collection of the European Museum of Modern Glass, Rödental, Germany

Le Sirenuse

Le Sirenuse is the film result of a residency at Lyth Art Centre in Caithness, Scotland, where I was asked to invite collaborators with the resources of a theatre for the first time. Previously, I have had film documentation of my performances, but this provided the first opportunity to make a performance expressly for filming.

Le Sirenuse is Italian for both mythological sirens and a specific location of islands in Italy where they were said to have lived and lured men to their death.

 

Le Sirenuse

In 2010 I founded Torcher Chamber Arkestra, an experimental platform that explores cultural identity, social and political topics through flameworked glass performance
 and glass-made music with audience participation. The British glass orchestra section of Torcher Chamber Arkestra was built by myself for frequent collaborator, Glasgow-based composer Alistair MacDonald, Director of the Electroacoustic Studios at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. In the film he adds live electronics and sound design, and performs, whilst drummer Stuart Brown, also Glasgow-based, is the lead percussionist. I perform and make new instruments, handing them off to Brown. Many new glass instruments were developed for this film by myself, with assistance from Kirstin Binnie, Austyn Finnegan, Ainsley Francis, Ingrid Phillips, H.S. Martin, Scott Glass, and Jordan Smith.

 

Le Sirenuse is supported by Creative Scotland, Caithness and North Sutherland Fund, and Lyth Art Centre.

Film: Rob Page

Edit: Carrie Fertig, Rob Page

Sound: Alistair MacDonald

Silicasonisphere

Silicasonisphere, a collaborative project with Dave Murray-Rust, is interactive installation combining flameworked glass, light and sound. While visitors are generally not allowed to touch glass art, here we encourage them to play with and move hanging hand made glass objects. The objects are hung in a nearly dark room, with strong, narrowly focused light sources illuminating the glass, creating patterns of refracted light. As the glass moves, the refraction patterns are swept through space. Phototransistors pick up the changes in light intensity, which is converted directly into sound, without any further processing, giving a literal translation of the moving patterns. Participants can experience the varied and often surprising sonic characters of each piece of glass, by spinning and swinging the glass, blocking light paths as they move around the space, and moving the sensors to explore how the sound changes around each of the objects.

Silicasonisphere

Silicasonisphere is supported by Black Cube Collective, ICT/Art Connect, and the European Commission.

Film: Lucas Kao

Flames and Frequencies: Performance for Glass Percussion and Fire

During a residency at Rochester Institute of Technology, I created a glass percussion orchestra. Teaming up with percussionists Peter Ferry (Chicago) and Adam Maalouf (Brooklyn), and Glasgow-based composer Alistair MacDonald, we presented Flames and Frequencies: performance for glass percussion and fire, an inter-disciplinary event of fire, live and electronic music, and glass blowing at Rochester Contemporary Art, New York State on May 10th 2013. This film documents moments in this collaborative performance.

Flames and Frequencies: Performance for Glass Percussion and Fire

In 2010 I founded Torcher Chamber Arkestra, an experimental platform 
that explores cultural identity, social and political topics through flameworked glass performance
 and glass-made music with audience participation. Torcher members come from flameworking, academia and music. The British glass orchestra section of Torcher Chamber Arkestra was built for composer Alistair MacDonald, Director of the Electroacoustic studios at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow. He composed two pieces, “Glimmer” and “Scintilla”, which were performed with live percussion parts created especially for this performance by Ferry and Maalouf.

During the performance I blew new glass instruments in the fire that were handed off to the musicians and incorporated into their soundscape.

Ferry and Maalouf, longtime collaborators, created music for this performance based on planned forms, as they have in previous improvisation and electronics projects such as “Circles and Squares” and the incidental music for playwright Kelsey Burritt’s production of “Threading”.


All of the glass instruments for this performance were developed during my residency at Rochester Institute of Technology with assistance from Shane Caryl, Bob Ponton, H.S. Martin, Wil Sideman, Jordan Smith, and Tom Zogas.

Flames and Frequencies: Performance for Glass Percussion and Fire was part of the Coburg Prize Exhibition at the Veste Coburg, Coburg, Germany in 2014, and both the film and one of the bells from the performance were acquired for the permanent collection of the European Museum of Modern Glass, Rödental, Germany.

This film was part of the British Crafts Council touring exhibition Real to Reel: film as material in making, touring Britain from September 2013 through January 2016.

This project is supported by Creative Scotland.

Filmed by Mike Turanski     Sound engineer: Jason Thorpe Buchanan

© 2020 CARRIE FERTIG

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