Sean Clute, Resident- Sound Machines
Sean Clute is a professor of media arts at Johnson State College with a deep track record of performance that includes making custom equipment for dance and theater performance that combines animation, electronically generated sound, and image projection. His sound machines are great interactive pieces that bring a new perspective on things that we already experience subconsciously.
Some of my goals during the residency included creating analogue electronic sound instruments that could be used to improvise with music, dance and other performative groups. Additionally, it was my hope to explore how, on a personal level, electronic art fits into the idea of Vermont being a rural and natural landscape. By researching the relationship of technology and nature through readings of post-humanist scholars (Hayles, Haraway, Ferrando), I hoped to fuse their concepts within the design of the instruments.
Entering into the world of analogue instruments and post-humanism was new to me. I started the residency by reading and trying to copy the musical circuits of composer David Tudor and reading Handmade Electronic Music by Nicolas Collins. I also used the stipend to buy electronic components, materials, and coffee to meet people for potential collaborations. Through readings as well as the highly important insight from Generator resident Leif Hunneman, I started creating instruments that could listen. I would test these instruments in rehearsals with choreographer Polly Motely and even performed with them a couple of times (July, August 2015). As the residency progressed I started to focus on instruments that revealed inaudible electromagnetic and acoustic sounds.
Immediate reflection on things learned through the residency include better understanding analogue electronics and of electronic sound works. However, beyond the technical achievements, I learned how to aesthetically and conceptually integrate my passion for creative technology into the idea of rural Vermont. For example, there is a conflict when I imagining using a shiny Mac laptop to create art in the forest, but allowing the forest to give its sonic essence to me as content for artistic projects was valuable. This approach allows me as an artist to justify the work that I do where I do it (I am a resident of Jericho).
The big thing Generator’s community helped me with was in finding how, as an artist, I fit into Vermont. I just love the community at Generator and would feel lonely without it and its vision. I feel positive that the connections I made with Generator members and community will continue to grow into collaborations and further dialogue into the value and fun of making things.