In this video and its attendant instructions Susan Hawkins brings us on a process of discovery, demonstrating the acoustic properties of her assemblages that unlock new possibilities in windows, gas cylinders, and elastic bands. Hawkins invites us to explore the objects in our own homes, at a time when day-to-day life has become a little repetitive, the power to see latent qualities in our surroundings is more vital than ever.
While spending a lot of extra time at home over the last few months Susan Hawkins revisited videos of American physicist and science-communicator Julius Sumner Miller, whose black-and-white televised experiments were a fondly-recalled feature of her 1960s childhood. Her 2020 YouTube-binge reignited her fascination with Miller and the infectious joy with which he approached everyday phenomena, communicating the potential of even the most mundane occurrences to tell us more about the world, how it works and our place within it.
This notion of the potentiality of things was also shared by revolutionary experimental musician John Cage whose work postulates that ‘music is everywhere’ and can be wrest from any object or situation. In fact, finding the music hinges more on our ability to transform our own outlook and see the world anew, than engineering novelty for a defined end.
It is with this spirit of open-ended curiosity that Susan turned her attention to the objects around her at home – looking for both sonic and sculptural qualities that could be exploited to create a series of new sound objects. In this video and its attendant instructions Susan brings us on this process of discovery demonstrating the acoustic properties of her assemblages that unlock new possibilities in windows, gas cylinders and elastic bands. At a time when day-to-day life has become a little repetitive, the power to see latent qualities in our surroundings is more vital than ever. We hope you are inspired by Susan’s explorations and use her principles as a guide for your own sonic explorations, share your work using the #makingartworkIMA hashtag and join the symphony of everyday-things.
Susan Hawkins is an interdisciplinary artist who creates sculptures and installations that explore the ecological and social dimensions of industrial and domestic objects. Hawkins works with reclaimed objects, testing their physical limits and to discover their hidden acoustic potential and unravel the complex dynamic between [wo]man and material. Hawkins questions her position as both a producer and consumer by encouraging her found objects to express their own timbral and formal qualities. Hawkins explores how complicating binary oppositions, such as the obsolete and the new, the human and non-human, might generate new ways of engaging with the materials in our everyday lives.
Susan Hawkins, Home Made Jam (Demonstration), 2020, HD Video, 00:07:48.
Susan Hawkins, Home Made Jam (Composition), 2020, HD Video, 00:04:09.
Demonstration video filmed and edited by Hazel Yeh.
Composition video filmed and edited by Joseph Burgess.