#bark, an update

When I embarked on bark (!) I don’t think I ever really considered that this project might actually extend beyond my time at the Residency.  I imagined I would have enough time to complete it all in Italy, and that back in Dublin I would just be concerning myself with the practicalities of uploading the material and organising the USB copies.  I was obviously wrong.  I think I – again- underestimated how attractive the country would be,  and also how much of an annoying perfectionist I can be.  The combination of the two meant taking the executive decision of living in the moment and outdoors as much as possible, rather than spending that time perfecting edits indoors.  I still did most of it (I am a Capricorn and will work as hard as I can, even before admitting defeat to blue skies and beaches), but packed up the rest: final edits, mastering, titles, all that.  And my little #bark usbs.  Today I want to tell you a little bit about those, and how they fit in the overall picture of this project. There are 10 of these- actual bark flakes from the trees that were used within the sound work.  These I collected, hand painted and varnished in Italy, and will form an integral part of the release once it’s finished.  Who knows, one of them might actually end up on your desk.


– The idea to use the bark flakes came quite naturally, as it was the shapes themselves and their attractive color that first caught my attention and inspired me to start this sonic dialogue with the tree.

Bark flakes

This is what they look like in their natural state, as soon as they have been ‘discarded’ by the Farnetto tree.  Instinctively I collected my favourite ones at the feet of the tree, all of a similar size, which I then considered using when I started devising the work.  It was important for me not to use any that were still attached to the tree.   I think I was very lucky to be arriving when I was, as I kept noticing on following walks how due to the heat the flakes tend to dry out and lose their color quite quickly, when left in their natural state.

– Again quite instinctively, I felt the need to bring a little bit of myself onto them.  In #bark I explore a connection between my yearly return to my hometown and its coincidence with the local tree’s own change of ‘skin’.  Although I do this through the medium of sound, I also instinctively felt like extending this conversation to a physical object.  I wanted a sign representative of my character that would be represented and painted across the surface of the bark.  So I started on these.

Bark flakes       Flakes makeover

Bark USB flake

I decided that these bark flakes would become the physical ‘hard copy’ version of the release, and would be each hand packaged with a usb key containing the tracks.

– Before leaving I was terrified these might break on the way.  I had a lot of travelling to do, on cars, buses, trains, and a plane.  Apart from having no guarantee that something organic like this might not be taken away from me at check in, I also had to hope and pray that the flakes would not break or splinter on the way.  I packaged them as well as I could, stuffed them in my carry-on bag, and set out for the road.  I was delighted when I opened up the package back in Dublin:

The bark flakes have landed!

The bark flakes have landed!

There they were, all safe and sound (if a little jet-lagged).  I only found a little bit of damage on one of them, but nothing major- I think I’ll hang on to this one as reference copy!  All the others are good to go and ready to be reunited with their familiar sounds…

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