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CAMP.Radio | episode 037 | 12.07.2023

A conversation with CristÍn Leach

Imagine my surprise, when I put together a sound collage using audio from Clare Archibald's if trees were lone women what would they sound like installation in episode 015, and one of the pieces was a poem written/read by CristÍn Leach, who later published a book called Negative Space that briefly mentions her listening to this podcast. That sort of blew my mind.

Imagine my further surprise when CristÍn agreed to record a conversation for this podcast?

Negative Space is a book that consists of eight essays. It is a non-linear narrative that CristÍn refers to as her album. Negative Space is part memoir, part confession, and a guidebook on how to experience and write about art.

The cover of the book, Negative Space

We talked a lot about process. CristÍn Leach is a journalist that covers art. Art is always happening. There is a lot to see. There is a lot to experience. The wall behind her desk is a mosaic of post-it notes. She takes notes on scraps of paper and also sends email to herself with impressions and descriptions. She is always writing. Always documenting. Always on the verge of being overwhelmed.

There is really no need to provide a transcript for our conversation. I did read Negative Space prior to our conversation and made notes in the margins. I did not really prepare a list of questions. The book has a vibe. The conversation was going to be about the vide. The conversation was very much like the book. Open, honest, and very interesting. One thing you need to know, especially if you have read Negative Space is that CristÍn Leach is very funny.

Hit the play button and listen to it in her own words.

During our conversation- as an audio potted fern set to decorate the stage, looped fragments of guitar tones that I recorded when Plunkett was here for a short visit, play in the background. Short samples were stretched into longer pieces. I put him in the cellar for two hours with a guitar and an amplifier- and just hit the record button. My only instructions were, "Play whatever you want and I'll sort it out later." This is a method we have used before. But this was the first time that we did a recording session with the intention of using small guitar samples to create a long-form piece specifically for this episode. What could go wrong?

The fragments and loops:

01. loop 6, CristÍn said to chop it up.
02. loop 4, Gated.
03. loop 1, Gallery (includes a field recording by Cristin Leach)
04. loop 2, Returned.
05. loop 3, Linen.
06. loop 7, Buzzing (the amp was being difficult).

The end music is a #WIP that I am calling, the lost art of conversation.

The vocals in the closing credits sound a little shouty because I recorded this section in the basement while I was doing laundry at midnight and mixing was no longer a priority.

If you like to read about the intersection of art and life- you should read Negative Space.

Trust me.






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