Artist in Residence Podcast: C. Frances Duncan
Self-isolation is hard. Art can help everyone. Artist in Residence is an immersive podcast series made in collaboration with ten New Zealand artists across theatre, music, poetry and dance. Each artist has made you a 15-minute personalised performance to help with one thing you might be feeling in isolation and as we transition out of it.
Frances Duncan (fka Claire Duncan) is an interdisciplinary artist. Her sound designs, music, videos and writing bleed across territories of alternative music, theatre and art. Duncan’s work often explores the textural and semantic possibilities of collaging found/foraged and recycled sounds, and teasing at the limits of text-based folk narrative.
Sound design collaborations include Sriwhana Spong’s Now Spectral, Now Animal (2020), Edinburgh Arts Festival/Auckland Art Gallery, which was recently nominated for the 2020 Walters Prize. Other collaborations include Biljana Popovich's Synthetic Baby (2018), Physics Room; Sriwhana Spong's a hook but no fish (2018), Pump House Gallery / Govett Brewster Gallery; and Nisha Madhan, Julia Croft, and Virginia Frankovich's Medusa (2018), Zanetti Productions. Frances' design for Medusa received the Excellence in Sound Design award at the Auckland Theatre Awards.
Frances' ongoing recorded and performance work as i.e. crazy (Non Compos Mentis; Muzai Records, 2017) explores the boundaries of civilised behaviour/sanity through similar exploratory modes of aural collage, and her participation in art-group Literal Fuck explores the potentialities for surprise and reinvention in performance contexts. In 2015, Frances wrote and directed the film documentary ode to musical self-expression Land of the Long White Stain.
Her writing has appeared in Le Roy, The Spinoff, Mayhem and here on The Pantograph Punch. She is currently completing her first collection of poetry through the creative writing programme at the University of Waikato.
Artist in Residence: C. Frances Duncan
Frances has created Seven Suns, an audio performance for lockdown, to listen to when you feel out of time.
Listen while somewhere under the sun – wherever that may be.
This episode is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, our RSS feed and right here.
If you're listening from mobile, Apple, Spotify and Soundcloud are preferable to the below player (as the sound won't cut out when your phone goes to sleep!)
We recommend headphones.
Each artist has provided you with sleeve notes for their episode. Frances' sleeve notes are below.
Sleeve notes for Seven Suns
C. Frances Duncan
Over the past six weeks I have had many conversations about the experience of time passing. Certain words recurred again and again: indistinct, elastic, strange, blurry. These perceptions have emerged for myself and many peers; both those slowly stretching out the days at home, and those carefully prepping PPE to conduct whatever essential service they provide.
These conversations and my own mercurial mood have caused me to reflect on the phenomenological passing of time (and its somatic repercussions). As I squirmed to my therapist over Zoom, wrung out with disorder and fear, she suggested a word that is in retrospect, both practical and predictable. Routine.
For this audio work, I took up the daily task to observe myself and the world from the shadow of the most basic measure of time I know – the sun. Every evening for a week, I reported on the sunset, recording audio and taking notes. The Ōtepoti landscape and soundscape seemed largely unchanging, yet every day my perception captured differences in detail – sometimes minute; sometimes wild. As I performed this small task, I thought of the Japanese artist On Kawara sending postcards to his friends stamped only with the message: I GOT UP. Some days, just getting up is enough.
The piece also owes a debt to the 1983 Chris Marker film Sans Soleil, a perennial favourite and a film I return to in times of difficulty. Mimicking its epistolary voiceover, my journalling took the form of a letter to an invisible audience – you, the listener.
It feels at odds with my practice as a predominantly sonic artist to bring a text to my lips and speak. Yet the uncertainty of my sensory perception sees me reaching for words as a tool to help me sift through my own mental murk.
Just last week I heard the Vietnamese-American writer Ocean Vuong on the podcast On Being say: 'We often tell our students the future is in your hands… but I think the future actually is in your mouth. You have to articulate the world you want to live in first.' Perhaps, by speaking into this strange space in front of us, we can reimagine the unfolding of time itself.
Take your time.
Created and performed by C. Frances Duncan
Theme music: C. Frances Duncan and Ruby Solly
Graphic design: Sarah Gladwell
Produced by Kate Prior for The Pantograph Punch
Made with the support of NZ on Air