Heavy Objects at If Wet…

Last Sunday me and some Heavy Objects were at the monthly If Wet… salon.

Heavy Objects at If Wet... #5

In a Possibility Probe stylee, I was curious as to how these landscape-reactive devices would look when regarded within the context of musical instruments.

As ever, the most interesting things happened when I stopped talking and handed the objects over to the audience to take and explore with.

If Wet 5 - August - 11

If Wet 5 - August - 15

If Wet 5 - August - 16

If Wet 5 - August - 14

The photos above were taken by Pete Ashton – you can see all his images from the day in this Flickr set. All my photos are here.

Many thanks to Sam and David for looking after me on this occasion, and also for organising such an enjoyable and stimulating gathering every month. I can highly recommend making the trip down to Callow End to sample If Wet… if you’re not already one of the regular participants.

Coming up: Heavy Objects at If Wet…

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting the If Wet… HQ at Callow End in Worcestershire, If Wet… being a fabulous monthly salon of sonic explorations, the like of which you’ve almost certainly never seen – or heard – before.

This weekend I’ll be presenting Score for heavy objects and built environment at If Wet.. #5.

You may remember the Heavy Objects from the And Miles to go Before I Sleep… exhibition last year: large, cumbersome wooden tubes that process GPS data in order to make tapping noises in response to the type of space they are moving through.

An Heavy Object getting a test drive last year

For If Wet… we used the Heavy Objects to record a sonic profile of the village of Callow End and the surrounding area. Having first waited for a gap in the rain, we set off with our unusual instruments…

Score for heavy objects and built environment (If Wet...)

Score for heavy objects and built environment (If Wet...)

It was hard work, but worth it for the expressions of the people we encountered along the way. Sam had a few explanations to make to some of his neighbours, although I noted no-one really seemed surprised at what he was doing…

Score for heavy objects and built environment (If Wet...)

Score for heavy objects and built environment (If Wet...)

Score for heavy objects and built environment (If Wet...)

The recording currently only exists as raw data:

And a couple of visual representations:

For Sunday’s If Wet… we will play the recorded data back though the Heavy Objects for the first time – no one has heard it yet, not even me!

Weather permitting, there will also be an opportunity for you to take a Heavy Object outside and have a chance to use it as an instrument yourself.

As if that wasn’t enough, there will also be a (very) limited number of prints available of one of the data visualisations of the heavy sound of Callow End.

There’s a preview of everything on the programme at http://www.ifwet.org.uk/news/if-wet-5-preview/ and you can buy your tickets in advance at http://ifwet5.eventbrite.co.uk/. Kathy Hinde’s work is very interesting – well worth checking out.

See you there!

Possibility Mapping (heavy object and built environment)


  • It is only through our interactions/collaborations/experiments that we show up.
  • Change the assemblage and a different set of possibilities emerges.
  • Can we explore differently in order to reveal new possibilities?
  • Through the use of new tools, do we get a new world to interact with?
  • How do you arrive at the places that are not yet mapped?
  • Observations and questions arising from the Live Feeds research programme led by Spurse, NYC 2011

    Possibility Probe (heavy object and built environment)
    is a starting point for asking questions and conducting experiments. A direct response to the trend of making mobile technology smaller, lighter and more discreet; these objects are unwieldy, heavy and broadcast to all within hearing distance.

    Cumbersome – a burden if not shared – these Possibility Probes resonate with the built environment that they are carried through. Like a drum or a heart, they beat faster the more they are surrounded by the fabric of the city, slowing as space opens up around them.

    How you carry them, where you carry them and who you journey with will all affect the possibilities that emerge and the unseen qualities that are revealed to you.








    More images on Flickr: photo set | slideshow

    And Miles… Installation view

    I’m posting these images with echoes of a dialogue with artist/researcher John Hammersley still swirling around my head looking for a place to settle: LIVEness and enlivening; gallery as storage; weaving objects into your story; sense and self-ishness…

    And Miles to Go Before I Sleep...

    In the ARTicle gallery space for the exhibition And Miles to Go Before I Sleep…, the Possibility Probes are re-playing one of the journeys they made around Birmingham city centre on Thursday the 26th of April.

    Possibility Probes hit the city centre

    Yesterday we started the And Miles to Go Before I Sleep… gallery installation in earnest ready for tomorrow’s opening event.

    After sorting out lighting, arrangements, power and cabling, all 3 Possibility Probes have now been assembled. Mona and I took one of them out around the city centre to see what it was like.


    Mona gets her first Possibility Probe experience. She seemed to like it...

    All looked very promising in terms of the object functioning as it should and there was much observing, thinking and discussion around some of the questions and associations it raised.

    First up, we do like the materials. Seems there’s a hint of a coincidental Beuysian theme going on with a few of the works in the show. Now seeking a coyote for the opening…

    We also liked the physicality of carrying it around and how it affected our awareness of what was around us.

    As well as trying a few different ways of carrying it, we also put it down and stood away from it a couple of times. We like how it is still audible from quite a way off and are curious about how it conveys a different feeling depending on how it is placed.

    For the opening tomorrow night the tubes will be ‘re-experiencing’ a journey through the city and then on Thursday we’ll be conducting more experiments with them to see what possibilities they open up. (Sign up here: http://heavyobjectbham.eventbrite.co.uk/).

    Test(ing) Tube

    Test(ing) Tube

    Test(ing) Tube

    Test(ing) Tube

    Transitory print

    As part of And Miles to go Before I Sleep…, 5th Beatle Mona Casey has produced a rather nice piece of print work bringing together snapshots of the thoughts and influences that are feeding into the practices of the 4 artists showing work in the exhibition.

    Come along to the opening event at the Margaret Street school of art 6-8pm on Wednesday (25th April) to check out the work, the print and the journeys they mark.

    And Miles to go Before I Sleep...

    And Miles to go Before I Sleep...

    spread sheet

    And Miles to Go Before I Sleep…

    Between the 26th of April and the 11th of May I will be showing work alongside that of Gene George Earle, Trevor Pitt and Adam Smythe as part of an exhibition at the ARTicle gallery space, Birmingham.

    Possibility Probe (first test drive)

    And Miles to Go Before I Sleep… is a presentation of four distinct artistic practices. The title is taken from the poem ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’ by the American writer Robert Frost. The poetic line acts as a metaphor for the durational endeavour and journey inherent in artistic production. This exhibition presents a pause or moment in that journey and shows us not necessarily completed or finished work, but a transitory phase in the generation and exploration of ideas at a given time.

    The opening is 6-8pm on Wednesday 25th April 2012, do come and join us.

    On Thursday the 26th I’ll be running 3 playtesting sessions where you can take the objects I’ve made out around the city centre and see what happens.

    The sessions are free and take place 13:00 – 14:30, 15:30 – 17:00 and 18:00 – 19:30. Please sign up at http://heavyobjectbham.eventbrite.co.uk/.

    ARTicle gallery is at the School of Art, Birmingham City University, Margaret Street, Birmingham, B3 3BX [map] and open Monday–Friday, 10–6pm.

    Test-driving the possibility probe

    I like this moment in a project – where the idea made real is first taken out into the wide world and your visions are (hopefully) shown to be roughly on target and, if you’re really lucky, whole new avenues of exploration are opened to you.

    possibility probe

    Test-drive a-go-go

    This morning Pete and I took the Possibility Probes (I’ve sent off the marketing copy, so these things now have a name – Possibility Probes is part of it) out for a test-drive.

    Most targets have been hit:

    • To be contrary to the light, cuddly, empathy-evoking bundles from the initial Colony playtesting (this project is an oxbow in a much larger, meandering research series)
    • To be a little bit uncomfortable and unwieldy, but not too much so.
    • To be audible.
    • To be felt.

    The one main area for improvement before the public get their hands on them is to improve the response to landscape.

    Not bad for a first iteration, though…

    Possibility Probe (first test drive)

    Possibility Probe (first test drive)

    Possibility Probe (first test drive)

    Possibility Probe (first test drive)

    Possibility Probe (first test drive)

    Possibility Probe (first test drive)

    Possibility Probe (first test drive)

    Possibility Probe (first test drive)

    Possibility Probe (first test drive)

    Thanks to Pete for being a willing pioneer and test subject.

    Copyright and permissions:

    General blog contents released under a Creative Commons by-nc-sa license. Artworks and other projects copyright Nicola Pugh 2003-2024, all rights reserved.
    If in doubt, ask.
    The theme used on this WordPress-powered site started off life as Modern Clix, by Rodrigo Galindez.

    RSS Feed.