5 Ways Nothing ‘is’ Immediate can support Wellbeing

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  1. The sculptures omit sounds, rich in harmonics and musical intervals. Listening to the sounds produces a response in the brain’s neuro oscillation. The sounds slow the rhythmic activity down from gamma to alpha, benefiting you by relaxing the nervous system. A further reaction is then produced as the body’s circulation system response by decreasing your pulse rate and blood pressure.
  2. The forms of classic geometry and fractal geometry correspond to the mathematics in nature. They are seen in the shape of an Octahedron and Tetrahedron, and within the repeating patters of reflection and wood and the images of fire and water. Science has shown that the same areas of the brain that respond in a positive way to resonating sound and sound intervals, also light up when you look at geometry and fractals.
  3. The stimulation of your brain when explore the aesthetics within the exhibition releases serotonin, a chemical in the body which contributes to wellbeing and happiness.
  4. An experiment conducted showed that when people are shown images of water their MRI scan indicated a decrease in cortisol (the stress hormone) production. The activity in the pituitary gland in the brain moves away from a feeling of flight or fight towards a sense of rest and relaxation.
  5. When you experience something aesthetically pleasing, beautiful in colour, texture etc, you release dopamine, one of the neuro transmitters that lifts our mood and can have a positive change to our mental health.

Press Release – Andover Advertiser

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3rd October
Neurodivergent art exhibition coming to Chapel Arts Studios
By James Ashworth @JamesAshworth98 Reporter

An art exhibition designed for neurodivergent people is coming to Andover’s Chapel Arts Studios in November.

Neurodivergence is a term used to describe the variation in how the human brain functions, and is often associated with conditions such as autism and ADHD. The exhibition, Nothing ‘is’ Immediate, was designed to appeal to individuals with such conditions by artist and sound therapist Tony Spencer, who himself has dyslexia.

He was awarded funding by Arts Council England, and has used that to produce sculptures from reclaimed pallet wood based on geometric shapes and the classical elements of Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Aether.

He will be joined by fellow artists Maija Liepins, Christine Dodd, Kate Street and Terence Noble, who will create new work “in response to the tangible and sacred aspects of the theme.” A series of streamed events, therapeutic sound baths, performances and poetry are planned, which aim to help viewers to engage through sensorial visual and audio elements.

Tony said: “I want to provide a multi-sensory experience for people who may not usually connect with art or a gallery. Geometry is accessible, it’s universal to all life on this planet. I’ve incorporated therapeutic sounds into each work, that are activated by movement in the gallery. This changes the function of a space, offering the visitor a positive feeling of wellbeing.”

Phil Gibby, area director for the south west at Arts Council England, said: “We are thrilled to support Nothing ‘is’ Immediate through our National Lottery Project Grants funding programme. At the Arts Council we believe that arts and culture has a positive impact on wellbeing, and this project achieves that through a unique combination of sculpture and sound. Through his innovative approach to inclusivity, artist Tony Spencer will enable more people to experience the great benefits that cultural activity can bring.”

Nothing ‘is’ Immediate is supported by public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

It will be on display at Chapel Arts Studios from Saturday, November 21 to Sunday, December 5.

 

Peace is just a state of mind

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I’ve just completed the online Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator, which was inspired by watching Robert Holden's five week online training course Coaching Success.

What was interesting about the results were they exactly matched what I expressed in my latest work Sermon – On the seventh beatitude, an investigation of my inner feelings and a message of inter peace.

My first personality was Type nine The Peacemaker, which exemplifies the desire for wholeness, peace, and harmony in our world. My joint first was Type five The Investigator, which exemplifies the human desire to understand, to look beneath the surface of things, and to arrive at deeper insights about reality.

This is exactly what my recent work Sermon the seventh beatitude and Flesh & Blood are about; a shift into an alignment with philosophy and wisdom, to unearth the truth about an authentic way of living in harmony with myself and the world. To achieve this I had to let go of surviving only with an ego, to accept the shadows and authentic shame. To bring people into my life who teach us to listen to ourselves and find the inner wisdom to channel the divine spirit.

Himalayan Singing Bowls

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Through my work as a Sound Therapist I have been exploring the effects of sound on a person, with the intention of boosting their physical energy and improving their health and emotional wellbeing. There are many different reasons why a persons energy could feel depleted. It could be due to giving too much of themselves to others, or a stressful situation, which leaves them in need of a restorative treatment. For some people it may be due to a short or long term illness.

One of the treatment tools I have been exploring are Himalayan Singing Bowls. As an artist working in sculpture I find the Himalayan Bowls fascinating. They are made from seven different metals, which are believed to correspond to the seven heavenly bodies: Gold – sun, silver – moon, mercury – mercury, coper – venus, iron – mars, tin – jupiter, lead – saturn.

When played the tone of each bowl is rich with harmonics as each metal resinates at a different frequency.

To enable you to experience the sound I have recorded a short relaxation with Himalayan Bowls, working on the base, heart and crown chakras. You can listen to it on the link to Soundcloud below:

Folonko

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The Folonko (crocodile) also known as Mama Folonko, is one of three sacred fresh water crocodile pools in The Gambia. It is located in the rural village of Kartong, where I spent two years on a self directed residency from 2012 - 2014, and subsequently visit every year.

The pool is surrounded by a sacred forest, which includes kobo figs and run palms; a habitat for many species of birds and biological diversity. The surface of the pool is covered by a layer of pakanui-water lettuce. The crocodiles are not always visible within the water, however they are there, still and silent. On a visit to the site I was fortunate to see two of the white Folonko, which locals consider to be extreemly sacred.

'Folonko' is a project which I have undertaken preliminary research and development for whilst visiting Kartong village in February 2018/19. It relates to an enquiry I am making into my relationship and experience with African tradition, ritual animism, and the healing qualities of sound. I am interested with the relationship between indigenous human culture and their engagement with natural ecosystems as a place where sprits, dreams and waking reality merge.

Mama Folonko is in spiritual union with the women elders of the six Kartong village tribes. As custodians they use the site to pray, chant and perform ritual blessings. This spirituality has grown from generations of pragmatic empiricism. It is a place of pilgrimage, where people visit the elders to receive blessings and prayers to help with fertility in exchange for traditional offering of white candles, salt and kola nuts.

Part of my research into 'Folonko' has involved taking part in the sacred ceremonies performed by the women elders, where I drank the sacred water and performed ablutions. Field recordings were collected of the ritual, the inside of the rain forest and within the Folonko Pool with the use of hydroponic mics.

The resonance to understanding this embodied relationship is perceived through my understanding of abstractions, and a personal enquiry into sound as energy and communication through animist beliefs. These are details I am exploring throughout my practice.

'Folonko' is a project I intend to develop as a sound art installation and exhibit in England, The Gambia and Internationally.

I offer special thanks and my deepest respect to the elders at the Folonko Pool for granting me permission to share their rituals.

© Tony Spencer

 

murmuration

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I took part in the first 'murmuration' residency 2018, exploration of all aspects of located sound (sound art, field recording, acoustic ecology, sound design, soundscape, sound installation & diffusion etc), coordinated by Jez Riley-French and Chris Watson. The location was Glenshee Scotland, on the edge of the Cairngorms, a rich source of inspiration, listening and recording possibilities. In addition there were enough international experts to discuss and share knowledge around the subjects of located sound, acoustic ecology and contemporary sound practice in its varied forms. It was a research and development residency, which I undertook as an enquiry into professional methods of recording sound in England and Africa and presenting as public sound art installations.

The Listeners

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The Listeners is an on going project where I am exploring the natural soundscape of Kingley Vale National Nature Reserve, which is home to a group of ancient Yew Trees known as ‘The Watchers’.

Yew Trees are indigenous British trees, decedents from our ancient woodland, often growing or planted on spiritual ground, including Celtic burial sites and Christian Church Yards. There is evidence that some of the ancient Yew trees in Kingley Vale are aged over 2000 years old, which makes them one of the oldest living organisms in Britain.

This was my fist enquiry in using audio equipment, including a contact mic, to find the invisible currents of sound beneath the skin of the tree and listen to its internal energy.

To emanate ancestral awakening, I vibrate the surface of the tree with the rhythm played on a shamanic frame drum. This process is to also emirate indigenous societies with animist beliefs, creating a ritual practice of slowing the brain down to a theta brainwave in order to sense an imaginative matrix of the natural world. The repetitive beat of a deer skin drum is an archetypal sound possessing felicitous symbolism, which we have inherited from prehistory.

Within Kingley Vale there is evidence of a rich ancestral heritage with remains of a Romano-Celtic temple at Bow Hill. Iron Age settlement site known as Goose Hill Camp, the Devil's Humps Bronze Age round burrows and a prehistoric flint mine. Perhaps the ancient Yew trees have preserved a physical memory they can express through sound and energy of ancestral ritual traditions.

After drumming I listen to the silence, to allow the sounds of the Yew tree to permeate my biofield and skin.

Credits

Artist - Tony Spencer
Concept - Tony Spencer

Photo credits: Jacqui McGinn

Foli – West African word used for rhythm

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In my experience rural West African people have a strong connection to sound, drawing inspiration form the natural environment and trusting that reality resides predominantly in what is heard and said.

Foli, a mandinka word describing speech or to produce music, is an ongoing project, which explores phonetic descriptive sounds of translated drum patterns. In West African culture, phonetic speech is still the traditional method of teaching, and their oral history, ritual and sacred rites of passage are passed onto generations through percussion and other forms of ancestral music. The vocabulary of music is described through the lips of the speaker, providing a description of how the sound would transfer when hands physical connect to a drum, which in turn creates sound to occupy space in the external world.

In my enquiry I am working with Mamadou Camara, a Guinean musician who I co-manage the group Kouma Kan Africa in Kartong, The Gambia. Mamadou has taught me traditional West African drum rhythms through phonetic speech since 2012. Through this method Mamadou has learnt and retained the instrument parts for hundreds of traditional Mandinka rhythms. The example orally presented by Mamadou is Soko, which is the opening rhythm that we perform at festivals.

Credits

Director - Tony Spencer
Concept - Tony Spencer
Performer - Mamadou Camara
Photography - Kye Wilson

© Tony Spencer

 

Spearman – Interviews with Kartonkas

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To offer an understanding of how local people feel about their friend and family taking the Back Way, we interviewed a number of local Kartong village men. Our feelings are that it presents a perspective of the situation from the view of West African's, rather than the bias view of UK tabloid newspapers, which portray Africans as tragic victims who drown off the island of Lampedusa. Here we present a sample of the interviews, including members of Kouma Kan.

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