Rain Ashford

interview with: rain ashford (2005/08/30)
tags: journal, interview, text
journal contents

Rain Ashford March O2

How do you define soundtoys?
'Soundtoys' suggests to me a creative and playful approach to presenting sonic work, that also considers issues such as visual aesthetics, functionality and usability. In the case of my own work, I aspire to create aesthetically pleasing artworks where the sonic and visual media compliment each other.

Why do you make this work?
I?m totally driven to create things, I announced to my parents aged four that I was going to be an artist. I've been playing with sound and visuals as separate elements since, though multimedia applications available for home computers enabled me to find a way of bringing these different media together using a process which I really enjoyed. I love the internet, it's a great medium/environment to work with, I find it's confines a positive challenge to work to.

How long have you been working in this medium?
As a child I had great fun and frustrations trying to be creative with a Spectrum... I didn't get much further dabbling with the Commodore 64, BBC Micros or Acorn. Anyway I wasn't put off but had to wait until I had a play with a Mac at the end of my Fine Art degree to find the right interface and applications that worked for me. It took me a year to save up for my first 6100 Mac, I then went back to University to study Multimedia. I've been learning/experimenting/creating seven years now.

Were you an artist/musician first?
Yes, though as I mentioned earlier I've had a long standing interest in computers. I feel very much at home creating work that can exist in both the net and gallery space.

Who has influenced you in your work?
Audiorom has to be my biggest inspiration for creating sonic artwork. 'Shift Control' is fantastic, I still love experimenting with it - or just setting up one of the pieces to play itself and leaving it on while I'm doing something else. David Toop is also very cool, his group show 'Sonic Boom' at the Hayward in 2000 was awesome. Greg Shakar from NYU has created some amazing kinetic ?soundtoys? For their sound work, Phillip Glass, Michael Nyman, Ryuchi Sakamoto, Ninja Tunes, Warp label artists and Stereolab.

For new media art: John Maeda's work is just beautiful....Daniel Brown has also been a great inspiration to me:for his gorgeous imagery and for giving screen art a dimensionality that I'd never seen before. Golan Levin's work with Java is way cool, his calligraphy generator is amazing. For beauty through simplicity and suggestion, Michael Atavar.

Do you see this work as art?
Definitely yes.

With regard to 'soundtoys' especially, why do you think the audio visual form is so key to the net? Well the net is an interface, so the user needs to beable to use whatever is posted on it intuitively regardless of language via links, buttons, etc. Visuals enhance sound - sound enhances visuals......

What defines the aesthetics of new interactive art?
Except for those who can create their own tools for creativity, I'd say that the usual apps available shape to a great extent what we create.. e.g. Flash,
Director, PhotoShop etc. Of course we should not forget the importance of the creative use of fonts/typography.

How important is the visual aspect in the 'new' relationship of the audio visual?
To me it's really important to be able to create something that looks beautiful as well as sounding so. I think the 'arts' audience expects to see ever more stunning/cool/innovative use of imagery, especially as technology advances.


How novel do you feel generative music and interactivity is?
Generative music has been around for a long time, we only need to look at composers - or percussion. As all the various media platforms converge it's obvious that interactivity is the future and not a novelty - well of first world societies with the money/access anyway..

Do you think there is a history to audio visual work?
Of course, sound and imagery have been put together since early superstitious ritual. Though in more recent history: cinema, then TV and now computer/installation.

Would you describe yourself as a multimedia artist, a net artist, programmer' or none of the above?
Artist will do.

What software do use and why?
Director and Flash for creating dynamic/interactive work. Soundedit 16 and Cool Edit Pro for sound editing. Media 100 and Premiere for video. Photoshop and Illustrator for imagery.

Can you recommend some URL's to soundtoys?
Theres so much out there, heres a few that I like...
http://www.modifyme.com
http://www.singlecell.org
http://www.rhizome.org

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