Bringing together visual artists, makers of all kinds, and composers collaborating with recorder performer Carmen Troncoso, Between Air, Clay and Woods of Certain Flutes is an interdisciplinary project that invites us to explore unknown territories, form links between imagination and reality, embody ideas and generate immersive experiences to shape a new ecology of material bodies intertwined with their unique forms of interaction and response. 

The Installation

'It all begins in a variety of woods from different locations – the valuable and living wood; and in ancient civilisations, who crafted the earth, the clay, turning it into sounding objects; and also in air, as nature’s blowing entity; and in the hands of makers – those transforming magicians, intermediaries between nature and musicians.'

Read the Gallery's blog about the installation.

Designed for the Norman Rea Gallery at the University of York, the installation Between Air, Clay and Woods of Certain Flutes created an immersive audio-visual dream-space that reunited recorder (musical instrument) with forest as a transformed inhabitant of that place. By moving through the space, one experienced a multi-faceted reality that oscillates in relation to position within the environment, with time and with fluctuations between image and sound. The visitor could find their own connections to, and between, nature, material, object and sound.

Find out detailed information about the installation’s content and collaborators through our project booklet: Between Air, Clay and Woods of Certain Flutes, February 2021 Booklet (PDF , 3,583kb)

Only a few visitors were able to attend the exhibition in the gallery. Nevertheless, those who went stayed for more than an hour, captured by a sort of mesmerizing effect triggered by the combination of entwined elements (described in detail in the installation booklet). Willing to share this experience to a broader audience, keeping it immersive and interactive, it occurred to us to recreate the environment in the digital space, showcasing and playing with the same content but in a Covid-19 safe environment.

Forest footage from Chile, Guatemala and England was utilised, as well as documentation from workshops with recorder makers, who through their tools, from a violent-but-beautiful intervention of matter, merge nature and craft, giving life to these flutes; beings of air and sound. Video footage connects these materials, projecting them onto translucent material (paper and veil).

In addition to visual projections, the sounds of three videos – of forests, recorder-making, and images related to ancient flute culture – are combined with two specially-commissioned electroacoustic compositions: this produces a constantly shifting dialogue between sound and merging images.

Listen to Felipe Cussen and Carmen Troncoso

Listen to GEN by Sergio Cornejo and Carmen Troncoso

Recreating the Installation in the Digital Space

Originally an installation assembled in the Norman Rea Gallery in York, Covid-19 restrictions inspired us
to develop the concept into a virtual environment you are invited to download and explore. It was
presented as a work in progress in the context of the York Festival of Ideas in June 2021. In this
recreated version of “Between Air, Clay and Woods of certain Flutes”, developed by Richard Kearns
utilising a digital game platform in Unity, you can explore an island forest, find the flutes that grow there
and experience the unique audio from the project, created collaboratively initially between recorder
performer Carmen Troncoso, composer Sergio Cornejo, composer Jean Christophe Rosaz, and sound
artist Felipe Cussen. 

Play the game here

Discover the story of the project Between Air, Clay and Woods.

Richard Kearns and Carmen Troncoso

Richard Kearns and Carmen Troncoso

Dr Carmen Troncoso

Dr Carmen Troncoso is a recorder performer and practice researcher. She studies the relationship between performers and their instruments, the creative potential behind the instruments’ history and evolution, issues of identity and decision-making processes in music-making contexts, and develops interdisciplinary artistic projects often juxtaposing early and (extant and/or co-created) contemporary music.