Since 2005 Simon Whetham has developed a practice of working with sonic activity as a raw material for creation. He uses environmental sound, employing a variety of methods and techniques to obtain often unnoticed and obscured sonic phenomena. When presenting work in a performance or installation, for him the space and the objects within become instruments to be played. Since 2018 he has been creating works that repurpose the mechanisms and moving parts of various pieces of obsolete consumer technology, combining and reconfiguring them to be presented as kinetic sound-making sculptural works.
The project will involve collecting various pieces of obsolete and unwanted consumer technology, from local waste collection sites but also donated by local people. An open call would be made to the public to donate any electrical item they have that they no longer use, that sits at the back of a shelf, or that is gathering dust in a store room, basement or attic.
Sounds will be recorded in the local areas that are either often ignored or are a nuisance, such as traffic, but also sounds that are normally undetectable, for example, underwater sounds, vibrations through the ground and electrical phenomena. Over the two months, he will dismantle the products found and donated, reusing as many components and parts as possible to build a freestanding sculptural form. Local people who have skills such as metalwork and craftsmanship are all welcome to join him in making the work.
Simon would also offer workshops for the public to help explain his approach and methods of working in this way, from field recording to the use of contact and other microphones, and then the transduction of sound, which can change it to an electrical impulse that can then create light and movement.