Ashley West (he/him)
Chair's Medal for Simulation and Visualisation 2021
Ashley West is an artist from Brighton, currently based in Glasgow, with a background in sound design and music production.
From solidly working on music production during his teens to early twenties, it was West’s love of sci-fi and fantasy films that led him to further develop his technical skills on the Sound for the Moving Image course at GSA, with the aim of working within this field.
As well as furthering his sound skills, West has also been creating 3D static and moving works for just over a year, which he self-taught during the multiple lockdowns in 2020. West continues to develop his 3D skills as he moves into a more visual practice, focusing on world-building and storytelling.
Now as a multidisciplinary artist, West utilises his technical skills in sound and vision to create his work and collaborate with other artists, often exploring other disciplines that he can add to his skill set.
VR, 02’21”, Spatial Audio, 2021
‘Associative Synesthesia’ is an interactive VR video where the user is placed in the centre of the ‘associative synesthetes’ mind. The artist based his work upon his specific synesthete sensory pairing – sound triggered visualisations. This type of sound-visualisation synesthesia creates three dimensional imagery that has a multitude of detail in texture and animation of shape, depending on the sound.
In the video there are ‘sound objects’ that have been sculpted and textured by the artist to visualise his versions of the five elements in the soundtrack; sax, bass, bells, piano and guitar. These ‘sound objects’ are animated by the music in the soundtrack and move with the notes that are played by each instrument. The positions of the ‘sound objects’ are head tracked along the spherical sound plane, if you move your head or mouse to one position you get a focused view and point of audition of the elements within the ‘associative synesthetes’ mind.
A Memory Tape for Dad
by Ollie Dook @olliedook
S-Vhs Videotape, 55’00”, Stereo Sound, 2021
Sound design produced by Ashley West
Old Friends, New Friends – Collective Ending, London
‘A memory Tape for Dad’ is a home video made by a Son, using the S-VHS recordings of his Father, in order to formulate a portrait of his Dad. A portrait filmed by his own hand, but edited by his Son’s. It attempts to represent the process of time and memory, within media, culture, technology, family and one’s self. Using the footage of himself and his three brothers as acting stand ins for the Father, Dook’s film recalls a timeline that ages from birth to later adulthood, at which point we see the man behind the camera. A man whom now lives with dementia and who’s own memory of these moments in time are fading with its passing. The footage has been preserved for the time being by a means of digitising an analogue format highly susceptible to environmental factors of decay and the will of entropy. The decision to display through the physical format of VHS heightens a relationship with time, these images are recorded onto a piece of tape with a beginning and an end, It must be rewound and played again and again, and with every playback it’s materiality ages. The ephemeral nature of this media enforces a feeling of preciousness, a sentimentality we attach to time people and culture. As one living with dementia looses memory and functionality, music retains a special place that can return them to a previously held state. The sound design attempts to respond to this phenomena, creating a hauntological space that reflects the music throughout the timeline of the Father. As the protagonist’s musical history floats in and out of clarity, other sounds are brought to the surface, like lost memories they are rescued by the faint recollection of a long forgotten tune. The sounds of family kitchens, concert halls, cars, boats and harbours are specially curated to reflect the lifeline of the Father. Alongside this, the sound has been effected to reflect the passage of time within technology, distortions move from Radio feedback, to the crackle of Vinyl, Tape delays, the skipping of CDs and finally the wiring fans of a Hard Disk Drive. Between the 4 sections of the film, which are defined by the age periods, Childhood, Adolescence, Adulthood, and Old Age, we rest in a more liminal space. This is a CG environment made in the image of the Father’s Removal and Storage warehouse and in this space outside of time one can hear fragments of the recent present. Voices of the Son and Mother visiting their Dad and Husband in his current state, living with dementia in a care in Sussex, whom upon hearing the sounds of classical compositions whistles along to those never forgotten tunes.
Interactive application, macOS + Win, 2021
FM Paint is an application designed on MaxMsp that grants the user an experience based on the artist’s condition, synesthesia, through ‘painting with sound’. The application uses FM synthesis with corroborated colours, generating sounds that match a synesthete experience.
The user can pick a colour, a pen size and digitally paint on the canvas creating a soundscape that fluctuates in frequency as they create their art. Alternatively the user can choose the randomize colour mode, where the colours change automatically as they paint.
As the paintbrush moves across the canvas, the sound follows the movement of the brush using the stereo field. This is to mimic the artist’s condition of visualising different placements of colour depending on where the sound is coming from.
The design of the user interface is based on an early version of Microsoft Paint, with its limited functionality, to emphasise the simplification of digitally representing synesthesia.
Although this is not an accurate depiction of synesthesia, as the condition differs for each person, this piece gives an insight into the artist’s experience.
Google Drive link to application’s: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/11a6ot3j4mKJLrWDFOeBrjifzGyjcQJQj?usp=sharing
HD video, 03’52”, Stereo Sound, 2021
Created by Ashley West (Directed, Story, 3D, Sound Design)
Score by Finn Lorigan @mariolenard27
Colour Correction by Adhamos Moose Kruizenga @moose.colourist
The Divide is a cautionary tale about the negative effects of tribalism and how social media is amplifying tribalism in society today. The story follows the protagonist as he watches his reality become a bubble of his own views, crumpling up his friends and community around him, leaving him trapped in his own echo chamber. If reality had an algorithm would it make the world a better place?