Ruth Fox's sound works explore emotional and physical states of being of the body and the body as a portal to the mind's library of archived experiences and emotions. They are also documentation for the mind-body connection and petri dish contents for the brain's ability to change (neuroplasticity) and affect matter/ the body.
Ruth uses the body as one of the instruments in the sound works, which has included the touch of skin, the breath and the heartbeat. These sounds are used to create compositions with collaborative composers and musicians to investigate the fluid interchange of unity and conflict between mind and body.
A SYMPHONY OF SALT, NOV '20
RUTH FOX; SARAH DALY & MATTHEW MOLE (SCANNERS)
A Symphony of Salt aims to translate, through four movements traditional to a symphony, the different stages of the mind and body’s acknowledgement, build up and eventual release of emotional pain; a journey of grief in the human body which voices that of our collective species and that of the planet. With grief comes the difficult human emotions associated with it - whether that be shame, guilt, loss, despair - and these, evoked within A Symphony of Salt, aim to hold a mirror up to the feeling that we are being nudged from quite a few angles, to consider how our current paradigms are no longer working for us, and the systems and lifestyles by which we live - all of which are affecting our planet, biodiversity and many species of animals, as well as humans on both an individual and collective level. And affecting ultimately our own survival.
Included in the music are Ruth’s own tears, the heartbeats of all 3 artists (all recorded on a baby’s heartbeat monitor) along with recordings of ocean waves from Margate. The track also features Sarah’s vocals, and a tuning fork app which along with the vocals, produce a sound bath effect varying from calming to disturbing, crafted using an auditory illusion called the Tartini tones, whereby a low note is perceived when the only sounds present are high notes.
'A Symphony of Salt', 2020, Ruth Fox; Sarah Daly & Matthew Mole, limited edition of 30 12" vinyls, signed on record sleeve.
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SOUNDS OF MY SKIN, SEPT '17
RUTH FOX & STEVEN YOUNG
1 minute taster from the 6 minute track
Using her skin as an instrument, Ruth explored the body through sound with her first sound artwork, Sounds of My Skin, made and produced in 2017. The work bridges sound art with a piece of music made from fifteen raw sounds of Ruth Fox's skin being stroked, hit, flicked, touched, and then collectively manipulated and reconstructed by psychedelic rock musician and composer. Steven Young. It seeks to reflect the awkward disconnection between mind and body, before very near the end, becoming ever so slightly more harmonious - honouring a quest for reconnection with the physical self. The track first played at Ruth's solo exhibition, A Most Awkward Divide with the cover artwork taken from one of her textile canvas works.
''Sounds of My Skin', 2017, Ruth Fox and Steven Young, limited edition of 30 12" vinyls, signed on record sleeve.
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NYPC started as a live art project in April, 2019, with an advert published on social media for women and men who held conflicting or negative beliefs about their body, who were happy to be drawn and painted semi-naked by Ruth in the window of a gallery in Mayfair, London. At 4 Mason's Yard, behind White Cube during her week-long solo show 'How You See Me, How You Don't', the ten men and women who took part, experienced being drawn and seen through an entirely different perspective - as a series of lines, shapes and contours, and as a subject for the representation and expression of the physical human form. The core aim of the project was to omit the predominantly Western beliefs we hold about the body in terms of judgement, appearance and comparison, offset by the media, advertising and online and offline public spaces, alongside the cultural and social constructs we've grown up with.
The realisation of this project followed Ruth's TEDx talk, ‘How to Rebel Against Body Image Idealism’ at Royal Holloway University in 2018. The talk features a line on the artist's face (which is getting more and more defined) projected on to a screen at 12 feet high.
'Transform' is a 3 metre wing-like wearable installation made of crushed velvet fabric. The artwork was created for the feminist arts festival, POW Thanet (Power of Women) as part of 'EXSOLVO' in March 2019, a collaboration between Ruth Fox, musician, ANNA and dancer, Harriet Parker-Beldeau. The performance and 7 minute film was produced in Margate by ANNA, also co- founder of The JAM Network, an anti-human trafficking organisation and features Harriet, co-director of The Natasha's Project.
'EXSOLVO' is Latin for loosening, abandoning, relinquishing. This collaboration offers a visual and auditory exploration of the complexity of emotional, psychological and physical enslavement and release in the experience of human trafficking. It was also performed live as part of POW Festival on 7th March in Margate Market Square, to raise money for Stop The Traffik.
'Transform' was created to evoke themes of restriction, liberation, shame and survival when synergized with Harriet's dance movements. The soundtrack was created specially for the film, by ANNA.
'WOMB ROOMS' was created for UK feminist arts festival, Power of Women (POW) in Thanet, and was exhibited at Pie Factory, Margate in March 2019. 'WOMB ROOMS' offered Ruth's personal situation of being born in a womb adjacent to a second womb-like space in her mother's body, a rarity her mother has known as a bicornuate uterus, which was then known to be a risk to the baby or the mother's life. Imagining the experience of this as a baby through the themes of fear, survival, comfort and love, her installation reasserts the body as a home. Lending lightly to the theories of Semiotics, 'WOMB ROOMS' draws upon Plato's idea of the chora, which Julia Kristeva then adopted as a "nourishing maternal space.”
The installation also offers the idea that humans are frequently trying to recapture the space in the womb because it is our first ever home. From dens we make as children to the houses we inhabit as adults. The installation seeks to evoke the experience of residing in the womb and the distress of leaving this omnipotent maternal space.
On a wider level, 'WOMB ROOMS' aims to open dialogues about the biological, historical, social and cultural discourses affecting women, their wombs and reproduction, for which the objects placed upon the chairs become signifiers.