Resident Aritst: May 5th to June 17th
B.G-Osborne is a gender variant, autistic, white settler of Scottish and British descent. They were born and raised in Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg Territory and are a currently uninvited guest in Ktaqmkuk. Osborne’s ongoing projects seek to address the complexities and revisionary potential of gender-variant embodiment/representation and to unpack and share their experiences with mental illness, neurodivergence and familial bonds. They emphasize showcasing their work in artist-run centres and non-commercial galleries across Turtle Island.
As an autistic person who deals with auditory processing issues and increasing mental distress due to pandemic-related isolation, I wanted to immerse myself in an audio/visual project that was highly personal and embodied. During my residency, I explored how my perception of and relationship with sounds could help me connect with other autistic people and how distressing auditory stimuli can be positively transformed and subsequently interpreted into abstract visual information.
The three soundscapes that are available to listeners are titled scanner, siren, and braking. I used Audacity (open-source audio editing software) to layer and cut/loop samples and alter frequencies, speed and decibel levels until I achieved a calming listening experience. The accompanying video is an abstracted and animated drawing of damaged and healthy stereocilia (the mechanosensing hairs within the cochlea/inner ear that respond to fluid motion for various functions- including hearing and balance). You are welcome to watch the video on loop while listening to the soundscapes to see if it brings you calm. Headphones are recommended for a more immersive listening experience.
This is an ongoing project, one which will hopefully become collaborative. If you are neurodivergent and want to talk about sound and its effect on you, or if you have an audio project you want to talk about/share, don't hesitate to reach out! I have a contact form on my website.
The biggest challenge I faced with my residency was the physical act of recording sounds that I find distressing and energy-depleting. I knew this was going to be difficult. However, once I started playing around with the recordings they quickly shifted into sounds that were engaging and fun for me to listen to.
I can't really put expectations on how individuals will respond to my work. I hope that other autistic/neurodivergent people with auditory processing issues will connect with the work in some way and maybe feel motivated to experiment with sound.
I used an H4N zoom recorder as well as my cell phone to record various sounds that cause me distress/pain, deplete my energy, or that I find annoying. I uploaded the sounds to my computer and created a catalogue. I layered and edited sounds in Audacity (open-source software) until they formed audioscapes that allowed me to be calm.
Participating in the Mainframe residency has rekindled my love for audio-based work and experimentation.
I am also excited to get back into electronic circuit designs and hopefully fix my Fisher Price PXL 2000 camcorder in order to create visuals for the audioscapes (I made several attempts to troubleshoot the PXL 2000 during my residency, but no luck yet).
Listen to the audioscapes braking, scanner, and siren in the video above with headphones, if available. While you listen, watch the other video, stereocilia on a loop.