The Baffling

14 - 20 October 2018

<i>The Baffling</i>, Kit Poulson & Amy Grace, 2018
The Baffling, Kit Poulson & Amy Grace, 2018

A work and event by Benjamin Owen

The Baffling is a performance event that brings together artists and musicians to create a continuous soundtrack to a programme of live music, film, demos and readings. The event name has a double meaning; both the acoustic architecture to control sound, and a verb meaning to deflect, perplex or hoodwink.

The event is cumulative in structure, beginning on Sunday 14 October with a prelude multi-screen film installation by Benjamin Owen that takes as its starting point the story of a partially sighted piano-tuner who trained on the Welsh borders. The architecture of this installation provides a stage for the performance events that will unfold on Saturday 20 October.

*Film prelude installation is open to the public on Sunday 14 October 6 – 9pm
and then from 11 – 5pm everyday until Saturday 20 October.

Owen invited Giles Bailey, Jamie Hammill, Nellie Saunby, Sophie Soobramanien, Kit Poulson and Amy Grace; musicians Corey Mwamba, Yvonna Magda and Matthew Lovett; and interventions from Claire Vaughan and Chris Brown and students of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, The Baffling explores the ritual of soundtracking, the nature of collectivity and redrawn relationships between film, sound and performance.

Owen has previously worked collaboratively within care environments, women’s institutes and with various collectives of musicians and artists. He has made experimental films that use live soundtrack to reframe interviews of ageing communities, and arranged gigs that undermine the hierarchical relationships between music, sound and the body.

Among other interventions, The Baffling brings together the following:
Islanders, by Giles Bailey, Jamie Hammill, Nellie Saunby and Sophie Soobramanien, combines performance with filmed sequences exploring the construction of island identity. Amy Grace and Kit Poulson will use voice, sound loops and different languages as they attempt an interrupted conversation that spans the British Isles. For The Baffling Corey Mwamba will contribute vibraphone to the continuous soundtrack whilst demonstrating how his movement and vicinity resound as a composite instrument. Matthew Lovett will contribute improvised percussion to the continuous soundtrack and Yvonna Magda will perform with a mixture of acoustic violin, electronics, loops and effects. Cardiff based activist and promoter Claire Vaughan will reflect on her relationship with sound and music. Chris Brown will perform a short, illustrated lecture about musical tuning systems, and demonstrates why Howard Goodall describes our current Equal Temperament system as ‘one of man’s most audacious attempts to tame the elemental force of nature’.With sonic interventions from students of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama

The Baffling is part of Everything. All At Once. At The Same Time, a series of events and exhibitions at g39 that pick up on the multiple thought processes that keep us both doing and thinking and the gap between the physical world and the internal monologue of our lives. We exist balancing moments between the things we have to do and the things we want to do. The season is not about a short attention span or distraction and focus, rather it's an uncovering of our ability to absorb, assess and understand multiple streams of thought simultaneously. The season considers all of the strategies and ways of developing artwork via the places we have to work. The places where we can earn enough to survive, but also where we trade time spent making work for time spent earning the money to make it.

  • Benjamin Owen <i>AcCord, An Introduction of The Tones</i>, Finsbury and Islington Central library, 2018
  • <i>The Baffling</i>, Corey Mwamba, 2018
  • <i>The Baffling</i>, Benjamin Owen, 2018
  • <i>The Baffling</i>, Amy Grace, 2018
  • <i>The Baffling</i>, Kit Poulson & Amy Grace, 2018
  • <i>The Baffling</i>, Corey Mwamba, 2018
  • <i>The Baffling</i>, Claire Vaughan, 2018
  • <i>The Baffling</i>, Giles Bailey, 2018
  • <i>The Baffling</i>, Nellie Saunby & Giles Bailey, 2018