Open Space artist Richard Scott started his residency at Snape Maltings in December 2014. As a poet, musician and a broadcaster, Richard has spent his life fascinated by words and music.
Together with his collaborators, the cellist Alice Dixon, the artist Edwin Burdis and the composer Maxim Boon, he engaged in creating a work which questions the traditional musical settings of text and poetry and also examines the very nature of collaboration between writers and musicians.
Throughout their time at Snape Maltings on an Open Space residency, Scott, Dixon, Burdis and Boon were investigating new ways of poetry and spoken word existing alongside contemporary classical music, sound painting, improvisation, sound and video art and poetry. Scott’s own faux-confessional poetry which examines sexuality and psychology through metaphor and narrative was their starting point.
Abergavenny, August 2015
We came a long way. Meeting Richard at Newport station seemed like a scene from some kind of heist film. Him with the glittering baggage of cello and mixing desk, me still exhaling the piped easyjet air and rushing from goodbyes.
Walking past the castle and through the rain Edwin explained the move from Dalston to Abergavenny. ‘We wanted it to be more about living and less about surviving’ he said, as he pointed out the Blorenge again. ‘We go up there once a week’. At Park Street dinner is waiting for us. There are other creative types here, reclusive, inhabiting the spaces.
The next morning we visit Edwin’s studio down the road. Full of sketches for healing machines and installations with sound. I ask him about Dieter Roth, and the relationship of the object to the sound it makes. ‘Sound Systems Are Sculpture’, he says ‘many very beautiful objects, I find’. He likes it when the sound makes parts of the object rattle. In his Scottish show he performs too, among his sound pieces and paintings.
Richard reads and sings his poems as we lay down loops and lengthy melodies – Edwin cutting and adjusting as we go. He works at a speed; a speed that we like. It pushes on through uncertainties as we gather more and more material. We listen to Hildegard von Bingen and Quintin Crisp. They echo in our work.
The next day we start away from logic with a visual score for ‘Boy’s Head’ with berries and fizzy hummingbird wings. The poem is full of nostalgia and punctuated with fear.
Now we are laying down a new track- ‘The Butcher’; ironically designed to compete in the X-Factor of the future. Surely we’ll win.