ROAR Talk #11 Mark Fell (write-up)

Sound sculptor, curator and installation artist Mark Fell from Rotherham, is known for his imaginative experimentations with sound as well as lighting in a variety of locations. He manipulates waveforms to generate dynamic sounds to go alongside the spectacle he creates in the space, whether it be an object; static or kinetic, or even light effects placed in a specific position to alter people’s perspective of the room.

His objective is often to make easily accessible pieces that are open to different interpretations. This is achieved by him being quite minimalistic in his artistic choices. For example in Mark’s Sheffield installation; he was able to compose a fluctuating, low resonating track to use as background music (coinciding with the creative use of LED lights dotted around the venue) by capping the positive spikes and adding reverberation to the signal. The installation encompassed the entire space so as soon as one entered then they were subjugated to the atmosphere; a combination of visual and audio elements together occupying the same space, playing off each other.

Mark Fell rejects the idea of subjugation as he finds it somewhat tiresome. He prefers spectators have the freedom to move around the space so that they can experience the static sound and visuals in effect however they choose, for themselves.

Fell has a previous background in music, producing and playing Techno/House at clubnights. This is where his passion for sound experimentation stems from, as well as his showmanship in terms of creating a spectacle by utilising other external items such as props for others to focus their attention, appreciate and round off the whole.

One of his most technically significant pieces involved the use of an ambisonic setup; where it starts in silence and then in harmony with the sound as it crescendos, the lights turned off gradually, until the audience was engulfed in darkness and surrounded by sound.

Mark was contacted by Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, (TBA21) and contracted to put sound to a large scale, metal sculpture.  He used a 48 channel soundscape which allowed harmonies to be explored within the space, inside and surrounding the sculpture.


The Morning Line

Generative piece for Matthew Ritchie’s The Morning Line anti-pavillion at the 3rd Biennial of Contemporary Art of Seville. 2008.

Another of Fell’s installations involved hanging a ghetto blaster from the ceiling, attached by a piece of wire, which swung in a circular motion whilst playing a looped sound which to the human ear seemed to create an illusion that the pitch incremented. This is due to the centrifugal force having an effect on the sound waves, producing a shepherd tone.

In one of his more recent works Fell used nine speakers, strung together in a dark space, to guide people through an installation. The idea being that their involvement directly affects participants and the harmonies in the space alter, therefore making the piece dynamic.

In conjunction with his other experimentations involving the intersection of visual, lighting, imagery and audio stimulation; using an actively changing sphere of colour which emanates an aura of multiple hues (as photographed below) alongside a pre-created track exploring resonances within coinciding octaves, he was able to assess through observation the effect of the two different elements combined in the show on participants.

dot sound

In other news, Mark has been commissioned to design a soy sauce bottle most recently for a highly renowned Japanese company.

Later this year Mark will be leaving England and travelling to Budapest and then on to Hamburg, Berlin, Italy, Mardid, Milan and back to England for a few events in London.


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