Revisiting Immersa

Immersa (Copper Bowl)

Sculpted by Sylvia Law, 2013.

Based At MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, Edinburgh.

Today I had the privilege of revisiting Immersa, a copper bowl that I sculpted as part of my final project for the RSA New Contemporaries exhibition in 2013. Immersa comes from the latin word ‘immersed’, and was inspired by my time during the RSA John Kinross Scholarship in Florence, Italy.

Upon graduating in 2012, I was awarded the RSA John Kinross Scholarship to undertake 2 months of artistic research in Florence, Italy. During my time there, my focus was researching different historic sites that were linked to the ancient ritual of Baptism. I was specifically interested in exploring sites that portrayed the symbolism of rebirth and of eternal life through the ritual of healing water. I spent my time visiting holy wells and Baptisteries, all sites relating to water and its reviving properties. Water in this sense was used as a symbol for rebirth and showed a great reverence to nature. Inside each space, I recorded the aural imprints of the architecture as well as its visual symbology, which formed the basis of my final piece.

Listening sculpture

Immersa was exhibited at the annual RSA New Contemporaries exhibition in 2013. It was created through an ensemble of sound and sculpture. The final piece was sculpted as a baptismal font with the copper bowl placed at the centre. The soundscape that accompanied the work was created from a series of different sites, which I recorded in during my time in Italy. The recordings included sites in Pisa, Orvieto and Ravenna. The sounds were inspired by the acoustics of each space and formed together, emerging invisibly from within the wooden structure.

Sculpting process

Immersa was created at the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop in 2013. Rendered from raw copper and rescued from a nearby salvage yard, the material was sourced and crafted all from natural resources. I also received support from the Dewar Arts Award who funded the production of the project. I saw it right through it’s entire process, from a raw piece of metal, to a shining hammered bowl. The process took over 3 weeks to make and was raised by hammering the piece into the hollow of an old tree stump. It evolved from a flat piece of metal into a formed raised bowl.

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It now sits peacefully in the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, as a vessel in itself. The sculpture’s roots fit nicely into the space as it too wished to articulate the symbolism behind regenerative life and healing. Immersa was inspired by the ancient ritual of Baptism, which sees water as a living organism that brings new life and renew us. It was this connection and symbolism that I wished to portray in the final piece. So it feels very fitting that it made its way to this space, and now sits in the RSA John Kinross Board Room.

You can listen to the soundscape here:

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Moments as Movements…

I sing all the time. On my way to work, walking out in the woods. Sometimes in between conversations with myself and the world around me. It is a constant cycle of creating and watching things as they rise and fall back into silence…

I have all of these little snippets saved on my phone, just like catching a falling leaf or noticing the sun as it shines through the clouds. It is a moment, an then it’s gone.

I wished to share these little moments, just as pieces in themselves. I record them and then forget about them, and then rediscover them again.

I love their ephemerality and the way that something can just come to you and fill you with life, and then go back to stillness.

Listening back, some re-trigger the memory of the moment, and others don’t. It is a moment, and then it’s gone.

I find that we are constantly in a cycle of creation, and it is rare that we keep all the moments in between. The little sounds that become songs, the words that become lyrics, and the tunes that mark important times in our lives. They all come from this moment, where we open to what is calling to be opened…

REDISCOVERING THE SONG LINES….

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This year, I have been working at the Scottish Storytelling Centre; a space for oral tradition to bloom into the present moment. It is said that stories are told “Eve to Eye, ‘Heart to Heart’…they are a moment of connection between the teller and the listener.

If anything, I have found that Storytelling is a shared experience. It is something which opens our cultural roots through different traditions, places and beliefs. Our stories are a foundation that allow us to dig into our past and to see our present through new ways.

“It is the word, blossoming as legend, poem, story, secret, that holds a community together and gives a meaning to its life.” George Mackay .

It has been extremely inspiring to be amongst such an old tradition and to see how it brings people together today. The stories of the past still hold so much resonance at present. Storytelling has been a way to share our existence with both the places we inhabit and the people that we encounter. We navigate our lives through the stories we tell, and we navigate our stories through the lives that we live.

This echoes the work that I created during my undergraduate degree, sculpting site-specific performances that triggered the present and past from forming a story between both spaces. Within this vast body we are able to re-listen to the journeys of our ancestors, to the their paths and songs and to retell them once more through our own voices.

This rich cultural tradition is embedded within Scotland today, and is still alive and evolving. All sorts of stories and songs are being retold, generation from generation, with the same resonance and knowledge, which hold the same magic and spirit as when they were first told thousand of years ago.

In this way, we can tell stories from the inside out, where our soul can meet the land it stands on. Navigating our stories through listening, telling and singing…

We storytellers are concerned 

not alone with amusement, or with education,

or with distraction;

nor is it enough to give pleasure.

We are concerned with letting a stream of light

pass through us as though one facet of the gem or jewel,

that there may be revealed some aspect of the spirit,

some beauty and truth

that lies hidden within the world and humankind.

 – Ruth Sawyer, The Way of the Storyteller

 

MA RESEARCH PROJECT: FOUND THROUGH SOUND

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Calling out, Angus-Hughes Gallery, London. 2014

The Absence of Presence: Feeling A Whisper Coming Through The Body of Silence. 

This work has been sculpted as a series of sonic journeys in which the listener is invited to engage with sounds from inaudible realms. The pieces explore the theme of being invisible through journeying internally from one place to another, where the sound itself takes you to an unknown space, to hear itself for the first time. The work will be presented as both playbacks immersed throughout the gallery space, as well as performing daily vocal interventions.

In my practice, I wish to sonify these unheard soundscapes which embody a geography of intimacy by locating the things we cannot see, but feel. My work is presented as fleeting moments of ephemeral encounters, in which the listener is invited to occupy a liminal space that is neither here nor there but still present. It appears from nowhere, like a whisper coming through the body of silence; an invisible presence that you can feel unfolding inside of you…

Performed and shown at the MA Sound Arts Final Show: Constantly Evolving, But Never Ending.

MY RESEARCH POSTER:

FINAL

BIO

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Welcome to my artist’s webpage.

This space is dedicated to sharing my work, both past and present as well as upcoming future projects.

I am an Edinburgh-based Artist, and work with a large variety of artistic mediums including sound, performance art, environmental sculpture, deep listening, site-specific practices, poetry, drawing & writing.

My nature is to tell the story of a place through sound. I wish to engage and explore many environments, both externally and internally. Everyone has a story to tell and their song to share, and I feel nature too has its own. Through listening and engaging with the landscape, I aim to sculpt dialogues which interweave both shared narratives of the land and myself into one space, a place where we can both belong. Through these discoveries I locate and discover the true nature of the stories within our natural habitats.

I see this as a process of finding balance between the nature within, and the nature around us. Formed by this creative enquiry, I create a space where both can meet and interact with one another. We sound through one another to become one, like flowers growing from the earth, a renewing force perceiving our beauty both from within and from without. Art in this sense is a physical manifestation of our intention, which we can clearly see as it is birthed through us.

As well as forming my own individual practice, I work creatively within the community. I use my creative practice to sculpt new experiences, which adapt to each individual’s diverse needs. I have recently worked with Artlink and Jupiter Artland, supporting both their creative outreach programmes. This has involved assisting educational activities in nature working with young children, as well as supporting individuals on a one to one basis with learning disabilities. My role as a creative practitioner is to come up with inventive ways that incorporates creativity into our everyday lives and that creates a space for us to re connect with our own inner creativity.

If you wish to contact me about future projects then please send me an email: sylvia_anna_law@yahoo.co.uk