SUAL Archives | 2012

Craig Vear: Antarctica

Duration:     56‘54“ (5 tracks)
Type:             Source recordings provided by Gruenrekorder
Notes:           Presented in conjunction with Far Out — listening room



1.     Iceberg (Rothera Point) – 12’20“
2.     Uranus Glacier (Adelaide Island) – 5’08“
3.     Katabatic Wind (Sky Blue) – 5’15“
4.     Adélie penguins (Jenny Island) – 12’20“
5.     R.R.S. James Clark Ross hold #2 (Lemaire Channel) – 21’51“

In the winter (Austral summer) of 2003/4 I embarked on an ambitious musical project in Antarctica, having been awarded a joint fellowship from Arts Council England and the British Antarctic Survey’s Artists and Writers Programme. The purpose of my visit was to compile a unique library of field recordings from the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic regions, which would become the sound source for music composition. The focus of my many field recordings was to capture and reflect the relationship between the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and the continent it embraces, and the life and populations of the area surrounding the Weddell Sea. Under these headings, the natural sounds (wind, sea, weather and wildlife), the human sounds (scientists living and working, boat captains, ‘talking heads’ interviews and conversation), the mechanical sounds (machinery, generators, boats, scientific experiments, travel, entertainment), and the phenomenological sounds (whistling rigging, clanking objects, crunching ice floes, musical accidents) were of equal significance. I journeyed to far and desolate lands, recorded colonies of penguins and seals, flew to isolated huts deep in the Antarctic Peninsula, and smashed through pack ice aboard an ice strengthened ship. I experienced the euphoric highs and the mind-crushing lows of solitude, the overwhelming presence of all who had come and gone, together with the realization that I was, as a human and an artist, a mere speck on this planet.

Craig Vear

Craig Vear works with found sounds, making compositions using computers that allow the individual sounds to be free. His open works are inspired by John Cage, Gavin Bryars and Christophe Charles and use chance elements within performance to determine the final outcome of the composition.

[info as of 11/2012]