My Artistic Process: Feedback Session 1

Over the last couple of months I have mostly worked on the following things:

During my feedback session I did a performance with my automatic music generation system and I sang Rainforest Light.

How according to me my process is developing

I am satisfied with the fact that I am learning a lot about the artistic process. And there are definitely a lot of things I would like to improve on.

I would like to experiment and tinker more. I feel like I am staying on safe ground by experimenting or creating with things I already know quite well (music & Max/MSP). Also my experiments within that field aren’t drastically different. I feel the urge to try out a lot of new things, but I recognise in myself that I am sometimes afraid of ‘failure’ or ‘imperfection’. But during the last months I have realised that play and experimentation can’t have failure, but essential in the artistic process. I started studying MADtech to follow my own path and develop myself artistically, so from now on I would like to experiment and tinker fearlessly. Moreover, Michiel Koelink once said to me: “all experiments are (potential) works”.

I have also realised that it is important to keep people (from FMI) involved in what I am busy with. Within this it is very important to show imperfect works or experiments, even though I often have the tendency to only want to show something really good. I can really see the benefits that I can get from showing everything: to get valuable input early in the process.

Sometimes I am a bit overwhelmed by all the possibilities and all the things I would like to try out. And it might be because I often make my ideas very big from the start. These overwhelming feelings can sometimes turn into a negative vibe, which is actually strange and a shame, because all my ideas and curiosities come with so much enthusiasm and energy. I should remind myself not to take it that heavy, stay curious, keep playing and have fun! And if I experiment small, I can easily know which experiments I would like to continue with.

I struggle with writing down what’s going on in my head: ideas, difficulties, etc. Therefore I started a blog GenuineHearts. But because I wanted it to be a public blog, I went too far in writing in the way I thought “people might like it”. Which is funny, because the blog is about living an authentic life, a thing which I find really important. I am still finding out how this will work out for me.

For my feedback session I did a musical performance. But I only decided the day before that I was going to sing live, again, because I was too afraid of failure. But I know I love to perform, and I don’t know what happened, but the morning before I just went to the Green Room and did a try out, and very sporadically decided I would sing. I am happy I did. In this way I have the chance to improve my performing skills with the valuable input of others. And I think I should do this more often, for example during What Matter’s sessions or other events in the city.

But I also sense that I don’t see myself as a traditional musician/performer. I think that is also the reason why I didn’t apply for a music degree. I would really like to experiment with weird things. New ways of experiencing music, new ways of performing (in which I am comfortable on the stage), new ways of playing music (with the audience).

Before the feedback sessions, some people asked me where I would present my music. I was very focused on the music only, so I answered that I didn’t think about it. Probably in my studio, or in the basement, just like everyone. But they told me that would be such a shame for the music I created. They said that the music needs a big space, and that it would be good for me as an artist and an individual to dare to take up space. They gave churches and big concert halls as examples. This made me think. I didn’t go for the super big space, like the church, but the Green Room felt like a beautiful place to start. It fitted my music and I took up space, this was a really good practice for that. But now after the performance, I feel like I can think about the performance as a whole: the space, my clothing, lights, the audience, the instruments, devices, etc.

I have collaborated with Desta Matla on TardiSpaces, which was developed during the LIFE/FORMS workshop of Tez. We explored the world of micro-organisms and for our final project linked my generative music system with it. I realised this is a fantastic way of working. Sharing ideas with other artists and still be autonomous in your ideas. I would love to do more collaborations next to my own practice. It was Desta’s idea to apply this work to OrbitFest. I didn’t think of it, because thought this work might not be ‘good enough’ (yes, imperfection creeping in). But I realised it is good enough, and presenting this on a festivals gives more opportunities to improve or get new ideas. I really like this development: collaborating and presenting works on festivals. To be honest, this was the first time I felt deliberate about becoming an actual full-time artist!

At last, I would like to enhance my practice with more theoretical knowledge. For now I am very interested in the therapeutic aspect of music and how music relates to our (psychological) health. But I also have these strong veganism values. Sometimes I am not sure what statement I have as an artist.

Which criteria I find important in evaluating my own work and progress

I think my progress and work is going well when

  • my work comes from me, and not from the expectations of others, it should be authentic,
  • I am autonomous, and initiate works myself that are important to me,
  • I enjoy the process,
  • there is nice balance between working together with other artists and working alone,
  • my work is shown to the world (on festivals, performances, etc.),
  • I get insights about life,
  • my art comes from following curiosity and not fear,
  • I claim the freedom of creating and experimenting with whatever I feel the urge for (from the very ‘normal’ to the strangest things)
  • I create things that convey an (aesthetic) experience or a message that I feel is important,
  • I am not blocked by perfection, the devil itself.

What the main comments of the tutors were about my progress

I recorded the feedback of the tutors and the students and I have written them all down. I have highlighted the comments that were most important to me, that made me think, and what I found inspiring opportunities to improve my work.

Romy: I really liked it, I only have 1 remark. In the beginning you were standing with your synth device, maybe you can build something that you have more calmness on stage and suits your performance. I liked that you hear the improvisation, the game between the music and you, that you don’t know what is happening.

Lisa: What if you don’t agree what your music generation program gives you?

I can let it run completely automatic, but I realise that sometimes I really don’t like it and want to control it.

Kevin: I was wondering, have you thought about visualization of your music? Because it’s very hypnotic.

Kayleigh: I definitely like it a lot, I have been trying with video in Max, but it didn’t work. People say that I should show unfinished work anyway, but if I would do this the computer would completely crash. It also didn’t feel right for me to make video ‘just for the feedback sessions’ as if it wouldn’t come from me. Maybe I would love to work together with other people

Danja: It would be great to work together on visualizing music in the 3D world! And I know the secret of Sander Bos. 😉

Romy: Where do you see this happening? Stage, gallery, music context?

Kayleigh: Not sure, people made me think about the location of presenting. Maybe church, has to be big. But I didn’t know. Music hall didn’t feel right. Still searching.

Hendrik: You see it as a music piece? Sounds ‘Bjorkie’, she performs around it, she has a dark side to it. Thinking about integrating that?

Kayleigh: For now focused on just the music. I don’t see myself as a typical musician.

Hendrik: You know Bjork?

Kayleigh: Yes and I really don’t like it. 😉

Jan Klug: Certain elements of singing are like Bjork. She introduced that into pop music. How was singing for you, cause you were doubting about that?

Kayleigh: Yesterday morning I decided I would do this. I was doubting about the setup and my voice I was super nervous. But it gives me energy and good for practice cause I like to do it.

Romy: What did you want to do if you didn’t do it live?

Kayleigh: Just let you hear the song.

Romy: NOOOO you can’t do that!

Jan: When you were doing it, were you fully into it or also aware of people?

Kayleigh: Yes, also aware of people, nervousness. I was more engaged in the improvisation part.

Jan: First part was focus switching. Once you figured out and again closing your eyes and singing and then back again to computer. Looked like programming. Mode switch. Still, you were emerged. Switching between modes. Maybe more intuitive control systems are useful. Also insecurity was jumping in. Thoughts were jumping in, what to do with arms?

Ruud: Why did you choose for this old fashioned setup? I don’t get it. Why?

Kayleigh: I didn’t come up with anything else.

Ruud: It can be very interesting for your performance. Maybe in middle of room. Play with how you feel good. Interact with audience. Now you make directly a screen for us, difficult to connect.

Hendrik: Maybe two stages, move around, music is good.

Ruud: Generated music was nice.

Hendrik: It would be nice to see what’s going on on your computer. It may be faulty, just to play around with it.

Romy: Are you familiar with these kind of performances? Looked at other people that do something like you? Guys with music machines. Good to look at other performance that do a little bit the same or the same atmosphere.

Jan: There are different elements: singing song, finding the stage, performing. Think about that. Hiding behind glass. Light. Or decide you want to be proper singer songwriter, and build a stage presence. Interesting things to work on. Definitely worth the effort, because it was really impressive.

Romy: Party dress.

Desta: First part was different world than the other part. First with my eyes closed. The second one felt more to me you were performing. There is not a preference, but a difference. Your stage presence was also different.

Kayleigh: Maybe because I was more comfortable in the first part.

Jan: Same difference between performer and actor. Performer in the moment, actor is trained. Performer in state was more in the first part, engaged. The second part was more like dealing with issues of acting for you.

Desta: even though you used the piano,, it needed your attention, it felt more into it.

Hannes: How important is the technical side? That it’s generative?

Kayleigh: For now I want you guys to know what I am busy with. For this now no, it’s just a means to create stuff. I made it because I see a lot of possibilities to hook it up to.

Hannes: I like that it’s generative, but it doesn’t come across. Maybe show the data.

Romy: It’s special if you know it.

Kayleigh: Now I sort of ruin the fact that I made that, because I pretend that I’m playing, instead of letting it be generated.

Mark: Thought about making VST out of it?

Jan: it’s a good question, do you see the tech as a product? Or the whole thing?

Ruud: It’s very song driven, linear? Is that important? Maybe it would be interesting to make soundscapes? Not linear? Or really songs?

Kayleigh: I’m used to it. Write it since a long time, comfortable way to express myself. But definitely interested in other ways of performing, music. Definitely now, because I really liked the atmospheric generation.

Ruud: What is really your intention, think about that. What do you want to say.

Mark: VST that produces melodies.

Jan: Nice that you worked with Desta already, generative approach in a different way.

Kayleigh: Its also nice with lyrics.

Ruud: To see how it’s done. Now it’s just beautiful images of micro organisms. But what happens behind it?

Published by Kayleigh Beard

Kayleigh sings, performs, and makes her own digital instruments. With deep bass, beats, synths, and spacious vocals, she creates melancholic electronic music. To find serenity in today's overwhelming world.

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