22 Jul 21

Sound Generator: Spotlight on Jordan Edge

Jordan Edge

Sound UK’s new artist development programme, Sound Generator, supports early career artists and the work they present.

In this series of Spotlight interviews, we will find out more about the artists on this year’s programme, delve deeper into their Sound Generator project and discover what the process has meant to them.

This week, we talk to Jordan Edge.

Can you tell us about your Sound Generator project? Where did the initial inspiration come from?

My project ‘Non Human Sonic Entities’ for Sound Generator stemmed from me studying sound on a fundamental level, as a material to think with and build upon. This gives it new essence to recreate new sonic philosophies to be experienced in real time.

This comes from the idea of stripping our sonic materialist reality and offering up new sonic possible worlds to be inhabited by us and our multi species hybrid ecosystem, for a progressive aural future.

I want to provide a contemporary perspective into how we can move through and think with sound in our everyday lives to make changes to our hearing perspectives. I want to open up our ears and minds to new worlds and possibilities through sound.

This means creating worlding systems that we might not naturally think with. So I started thinking about how I can make this into an experience that everyone can have and understand on a fundamental level, without having to know about sound.

I'm planning to create an interspecies language and voices within a living sound environment using Artificial Intelligence and language models.

I also plan to recreate large scale versions of insect body parts combined with vocal tracts that make abstract communicative sound. The aim being that we can experience the idea of interspecies kinship, expanding the way we hear and think about sound.

To move towards a more progressive sonic future, we can think similarly to other species when using sound and language to communicate.

This project presents alternative progressive multi-disciplinary futures, genderless worlds, interspecies communication and the architectures of possibility within non-human listening. It is materialised through sonic narrative, sculpture, and CGI.

"Imagined soft sculptures based on human / non-human vocal tracts and the resonant body parts of insects will communicate with you through synthetic, acoustic and digital deconstructions of language giving a voice to the more than human world."

Aural evolutions of communication, aspects of language from the animalistic, synthetically modelled screams, expanded calls and roaring soft materials speak out into space.

The digital environment containing entities will act as generative forms of vocalisation and imagined plant hosts. Visually and sonically based around the abstraction of speaking systems and communication through metaphysical matter.

Non-human listening expands perceptions of interspecies life, and our capacity to travel through fictional realities to create new experiential worlds. It can also expand our understanding of the deep connectivity to the environment and our entangled ecosystem.

How has your idea developed during this project so far? And what have you learnt?

My idea has developed a lot during my time spent on this residency. Speaking to mentors and artists about my plans has generated a broader mindset for myself.

I’m from an artistic background, so having the opportunity to reach out to specialists and people working in science has really progressed my ideas and given me a realistic approach to how other species experience and use sound.

At first I was going to make these sculptures and worlds from research and imagination, but now I'm really understanding how insects use sound to communicate, through their environment and through their bodies and plant hosts. They are very social creatures. This has made me look at the project from a new angle.

"I would like people to experience something close to what an insect or non-human species experiences through sound, in order to create a completely altered reality in which we can inhabit."

Part of my research is to become somewhat non-human and blend the boundaries between species. I sometimes experience moments of complete sonic abstraction, where sound is not tied to anything particularly human, sound as itself, and this makes me think we can build anything upon sound conceptually.

I want to inhabit and create sonic worlds for the ‘more than human’ world. Having this open space to grow and discuss my ideas with artists doing a similar practice gives me an open-mindedness to what is in front of me, everything is mouldable and organically unfolding as the process continues.

What has this opportunity meant to you?

This opportunity has meant a whole lot to me. Realising one of my most ambitious projects would be an incredible achievement for me. The possibility that it could transform, retrain or inspire the perception of listening for a wider public audience is magnificent.

Sound Generator can provide me with a fully functional project that I could show in professional spaces, innovative sound festivals and apply to opportunities with. It can ground me with a conceptual underpinning and new peer relationships to develop throughout my artistic career.

It has created connections between me and many inspirational artists that I wouldn't have had contact with otherwise. I feel like this is a crucial opportunity that is really propelling me forwards with my research and art work.

It has given me a platform to relate to that I can use in the face of other opportunities, and push my practice towards sustainability as a full-time artist.

Learning from my mentors will be important for me to continue to make work, these skills and conversations will be used throughout my creative practice and contribute to the way I experience the world.

Has it helped you to develop your creative practice? If so, how?

Sound Generator has given me the time, funding and drive to focus on one project. Without this I would still slowly be working towards this, but given the opportunity I can now spend more time and funds on making this a reality.

The main thing I will gain from this experience is the programme's amazing offer to fund mentorship for the project and for myself. Picking the people I speak to is very specific, and contributes in so many different ways to a project.

Having the freedom to contact artists with a well-known organisation in the sound arts community is amazing and opens up so many doors to new and interesting people.

My creative practice has developed from speaking to these mentors, and will go on to shape my mind and project as I move through this research and development phase that Sound UK has kindly gifted me.

"Its specificity within the sound arts is great for me, as it seems this opportunity is one of the few for sound artists working in the UK."

What have you been listening to recently? Any new music recommendations?

I always keep my ears open to a broad range of sounds and genres, anything from insect environments to experimental jazz, choral music, black metal, anything that crosses boundaries, emotions, intensities or scientific research. 

Recently I've been listening to some of PAN’s new releases such as Pan Daijings LET and Aaron Cupples ghost.

One of my favorite labels is Subtext, they always provide an interesting listen at such high quality and sonic detail. James Ginzberg's new album is beautiful.

I really like sounds that lift me into another universe, traversing the body, providing other sonic worlds to enter and gain a new perspective from. Opal Tapes, which I have released with, are always pushing out incredible experimental music, by great artists that I haven't ever been introduced to before. Stephen Bishop is ruthless and puts out what he wants, for the music, for the ears only, and I respect this a lot.

What are your hopes for the project? How do you see it developing beyond this initial 6-month award?

I would like the project to be at the stage where I can approach gallery spaces and site specific festival spaces working in sound arts.

My initial thoughts were to house this project in a physical gallery space like Chisenhale Gallery or somewhere smaller (Gossamer Fog) with a similar type of curatorial catalogue.

I really think this work would be viewed and shaped well by a gallery like Chisenhale, as they have a research and process based approach to their curation, like Ghislaine Leung’s Partners.

I would also make a digital version, based on a web platform for open source, free access, hosted between a variety of social media platforms to make it accessible to all individuals as a game environment / virtual show and a physical one when it arises.

After this 6 month residency I should have the bones of a multidisciplinary art installation to present in spaces. Or near enough, so it will be a matter of getting it out into the world with more funding to realise a full space accompanying the sculptures, sound environments and VR game.

I would like to completely transform a space to become a tailored environment that this work sits in.

Visit Jordan Edge's website to find out more about their work. We look forward to sharing more information on their Sound Generator project as it develops.

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