INTERVIEW: Shannon Pearl | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Taking the definition of art to one of its most natural yet difficult conclusions, it seems like local multimedia artist Shannon Pearl enjoys avoiding the easy route when it comes to her work. 

Already developing a strong reputation for both her visual and sonic art, Shannon returns with Ghost, an exploration of one of her favourite topics; that of heritage. 

I live by the coast and can’t help but feel inspired by the North East coastline,” confirms Shannon, “it’s such a natural place of wonder and beauty and I just wish more people could visit it and feel the same inspiration that I do.” 

Taking the region’s natural beauty as a starting point, and using it as a basis for connecting with those who have gone before us, Ghosts is a project which deeply considers the premises of space and time and asks the big questions about what it means to be alive. “Ghosts started off as a project which partially thought about those who lived in the North East before we did; who were they and what would they think of the way we live now? At the heart of the art is the question about connecting and communicating with the people and the places of the past.” 

The intention is to use the art to help people transport to these places and be inspired by them in the way that I am

Starting off the Ghosts project in the auditory medium (there are four glorious vocal pieces at the heart of the work), Shannon’s first task was to try and record the spirit of various places along the North East coastline. “In some moments I would record some of the actual sounds that I heard in each of the places I went to, and at other times I would try to sing and create the sound of the ambiance and atmosphere that I heard. I was trying to capture the spirit of the place, as well as recording live sounds that one day would be ghosts themselves.” 

Building on top of the ambiance and soundscapes, Shannon then used a combination of visual art, stills, photography and physical items like pebbles or grains of sand to complete a fully three-dimensional piece that captured the heritage of a location. “I think of this art as trying to capture the moment and the space of that place in one snapshot, so I tried to create pieces of art that weren’t just about vocal loops but also about reflecting the feeling of the place by using images and materials from the location. The intention is to use the art to help people transport to these places and be inspired by them in the way that I am.”  

Shannon explains that she was at times overwhelmed by the possibilities of what each space could be. “Sometimes it felt like these huge jigsaw puzzles in the way that I was trying to line up sounds and imagery and art and vocals and physical items.” The resulting sound art project bristles with both huge ideas and minute detail. Released online and exhibited in two venues in Sunderland from Thursday 8th December, Ghosts is a hugely ambitious combination of art and sound, which at the heart talks about the importance of remembering that one day we too will be ghosts; “We have to remember that we are all part of nature, and nature’s natural cycles.”  

Shannon Pearl debuts Ghosts at Pop Recs Ltd., Sunderland from Thursday 8th December, moving on to The Good Apple Cafe in Sunderland from Thursday 15th-Thursday 22nd December.

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