Records + Resin: Midi Minds Kenya X Richard Njogu X Cleophas Mandela

Records+Resin was an audio-visual experience exhibition held at The Fundii Centre for Arts in Nairobi, Kenya. The exhibition took place on 3rd November 2016 from 6PM – 11PM.

Stimulate your sense of seeing and hearing at Records+Resin, the joint exhibition of artists Richard Njogu and Cleophas Ondula in collaboration with audio solutions company Midi Minds Kenya. Sound installations accompany paintings and relief sculptures to integrate the senses and synesthetically explore their interaction. Hear the art. See the sound.

Carrying forth the theme of modern day idols, mixed media artist Richard Njogu reworks old vinyl records creating portraits of musicians relevant to contemporary Kenyan culture such as Fela KutiCarlos Santana and Arethra Franklin. Using epoxy resin and fibreglass, sculptor Cleophas Ondula focuses on political figures alongside beauty queens and tribal women; a social commentary on our culture of veneration.

Taking their cue from the visual artwork, we created accompanying soundscapes; an emotional prompt of music to make the art come alive.

The initiation process for the project started with capturing sounds of broken vinyl pieces as our start point. The recording process was fairly simple and straight forward. We used a condenser microphone on close focus to capture the sounds of vinyl breaking. We also used the condenser microphone with several pieces of broken vinyl tossing as texture sounds. (See below for image of recording vinyl breaking)


After capturing the vinyl breaking audio recordings we selected the “Talking To Fela” finished vinyl-art piece done by Richard Njogu & the “Woman In Power” sculpture piece by Cleophas Ondula. Now that we had a clear visual direction we started brainstorming on the final motifs of the surround piece and with that information we decided upon length of the pieces, key and the general structure too.

We decided to use an inspirational interview Fela Kuti had on Democracy and we also decided to use his song “Go Slow” from his 1972 album “Roforofo Fight” as the main musical inspiration for the “Talking To Fela’ surround-sound piece. (See below for “Talking To Fela” picture)


Click HERE to listen to the Talking To Fela audio piece.

With “Woman In Power” we wanted to create a juxtapose of situations morphing seamlessly to show the growth and changes in our society and in the mind of an African Woman. Organic nature sounds and delicate strings morphing into city scapes and conversations to screeching traffic and radio connection frequencies.
(See below for “Woman In Power” picture)

Click HERE to listen to the “Woman In Power” audio piece.

Using Logic Pro 9’s surround-sound mixing capabilities we spread the recordings, samples and songs wide around the audio spectrum and we used panning and volume automations to create movement around the room. (See below for example screenshot of automation channels on LogicPro9)

 

The room was equipped with a Wharfedale Quartz 7.0 Theatre Surround Sound System & Velodyne Acoustics Impact-12 Subwoofer to help experience the perfect balance of form and function. Spreading the speakers across the back corners and front ceiling fabrications to create a sonical speaker spread across the room. We used a Harmon-Kardon 1710 Audio Receiver to link all the speakers and sub-woofers and as an output for the connection and an Apple Macbook Pro Mid 2012 for playback. (See below for surround room view)

 


This exhibition was presented in collaboration with Fundii Centre for The Arts and was made possible with the generous support of Cookswell JikosEnglish PressNomad Mobile BarSierra Premium Beer. Logistical and equipment support from Teflon Solutions Central. A Nairobi, Kenya based electronics company selling and servicing electronic goods ranging from hi-fi systems and home theatres to laptops and mobile phones.

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