Following on from my recently completed theoretical research essay, the concept of subverting conventional and traditional stereotypes is something that has begun appearing within my creative thinking and artistic practice.
With this in mind, I decided to re-examine and appropriate the genres of Hip-hop and Grime; to subvert their original forms, and then re-contextualize them within an original and alien audio-visual landscape: ‘A12’.
‘Deconstruction’, ‘subversion’, and ‘cultural diversity’ are themes that endlessly creep into my work. From my ‘Decomposing Piano’ with its installed ‘Decomposition in D’, to my ‘Insignificant Sounds In-between’, I always seem to feel the need to break things down and then to re-construct and re-animate them. While my focus on ‘Diverse Cultures’, has been prompted by a peripatetic childhood lived between Australia and the UK.
My interest in Hip-hop and Grime music began with my exploration of the concept of Beat-boxing. Hip-hop is a genre made up of four key elements including: Break-dancing, Rap, Beat-boxing and Graffiti. In order for me to gain a better understanding of the music basis of these genres, it was necessary for me to explore both RAP and Beat-boxing.
My RAP (Rhythm and Poetry) research has been the catalyst for my desire to create a new musical sub-genre: a sub-genre that basically involves removing this urban-based ‘genus’ from the city and relocating and re-contextualizing it within a specifically rural setting. To do this, I invited a number of ‘rural-dwellers’ from my local East Suffolk community to read out a series of Raps composed and written about the urban lifestyle. I then contrasted this by asking a number urban-based East London Rappers to rap some traditional rural/pastoral Suffolk poetry that reflects the rural lifestyle. In addition to this, I made a series of my own beats exclusively using natural and rural sounds: for example, the ‘moo’ of a cow represents the bass line.
Having collected a selection of multifarious recordings I then decided to play them alongside each other, thereby creating a multi-layered and playful hybrid experience of discordant harmonies. I experimented with these sounds using several different mediums and found that surround sound was the most successful media.
My final installation ‘A12’ consists of each recorded track simultaneously emerging out of the five separate speakers with the audience instructed to walk around the room experiencing the sound documents.
The principal objective of this work is to explore and animate both the differences and the similarities between the rural and the urban experience. Hopefully, it will provide an innovative provocation for future explorations and cultural mutations that, in turn, will extend a bridge between the two communities.