Centre for Alternative Technology

glenn recording

CAT Artist in Residence 2014

Voices From A Disused Quarry, is a project initiated by archive curator Allan Shepherd who works at CAT.

The archive includes interviews, images and video. The Artist in Residence post was a chance to work with the oral history archive covering the voices of those who created the 40 years of ground breaking environmental history in Wales.

My proposal was to 'spatialise' the archive, exploring connections between historic interviews and the site. The original proposal can be seen below right.

Opposite are a selection of examples coming out of the residency. All material on this page is copyright Glenn Davidson - Artstation.

CAT A.I.R. was set up with the generous support of Arts Council Wales.

Note : 09/12/14. It has been agreed at senior management level that CAT would like to apply for more funding to work with Glenn again to take this project forward. This work would build on Glenn’s ideas about creating sonic journeys around time and space, tracing the history of CAT through voice image and sound. Curator Allan Shephard.



Voices From A Disused Quarry

Residency Documentation 1 - Site Exploration

A psychogeography project using sonic poetry, digital image composition, archive intervention, interactive aerial film interface proposal and new enlarged site map.

The CAT residency involved exploring a notion of 'soundscape poetry', the method included bringing together historic aural, visual and sonic sources that both connect and sensitise people to the site, whilst bringing significance to the oral archive - Voices From a Disused Quarry.

Soundscape - voices and ambient sounds.
Short extracts from the oral archives, 'voices' are composed into poetic stanzas. Soundwalks were then used to collect the contemporary soundscape around site, focussing on areas which were depited or evoked by the voices. Voices were then bought together, mixed with the sounds of the site soundscape, creating wholly new poetic compositions (examples below).

Images from the Oral History Archive have also been investigated. Digital interventions have been made in archival images, deliberately opening new interpretations, changing even challenging their original meaning.

The need for this approach arose because archive images were found to be general 'snaps', taken by volunteers and early CAT members. The snaps document the development and stories of the site, but were clearly never intended to engage modern audiences. A digital composition method was demonstrated, the approach increased discussion and potential public interest in the photographic archive. (example 'Iwo Jima Quarry 2014' above right ).

An enlarged map of the potential visitor site (below right) was opened up by the Soundwalks. Connecting existing public spaces and places to the old slate mining quarry, now over grown and largely inaccessible to public. The access tunnel and quarry are an acoustic and psychological wonder. The enlarged map has helped stimulate ways in which future visitors might experience the quarry as a key element in the 'theatre' of the physical site. Though currently off the map to visitors, significance has been drawn, through this work, to the slate quarry its soundscape and a broadening of site history.

The idea is that future online to visitors will get a brief introduction to events and places on site through the voices, sound works and digital compositions presented as an interactive map. Nodes across site are connected with aerial movies (example right ).

The proposals and first works effectively spatialise the archive. See A New Map (below right). Download PowerPoint for more information.

The proposals and first works effectively spatialise the archive. See A New Map (below right). Download PowerPoint for more in formation.

Example from residency
Poetic compositions: mixing oral history and site sonics

Bob Todd - Working with others
Bob Todd- My Dad
Judith - Volunteers and Sewage Chutney
Mark Mathews - The Clinic before CAT

Michael Williams - Belief
Rod James - Architecture and Windows


recorded April 30th 2014

Moments of a long sonic derive

Photomontage was used to bring new focus and content to old black and white images in the CAT archive, this included unexplored, at times difficult, prespectives on the archive.

Iwo Jima Quarry - installing a water turbine.
Copyright image Glenn Davidson / CAT AIR 2014

The quarry - Brave New World - montage curator AS in the quarry.
Copyright image Glenn Davidson / CAT AIR 2014


A NEW MAP - online interface.

An extension of the CAT visitor map has been proposed to connect the current site map with the original slate quarry. 'Sound nodes' across site connect by aerial movies triggered by the blue arrows. In the future this will provide a novel way to explore the site and its oral history archive, through an online map.

Copyright image Glenn Davidson / CAT AIR 2014

Camera flight test for the sonic interface (below) - huge thanks to Pete Telfer for the filming!

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Copyright image Glenn Davidson / CAT AIR 2014