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Current and past students joined staff from the Department of Art and Design to produce the research study Radical Innuendo, which can be heard online here.

The project was directed by Senior Lecturer in Graphic Design Kevin Furlong and Acting Programme Leader for Graphic Design Andrew Hooper and focused on the theme of misinformation.

The artists were invited to listen to the audio chaos of their own surroundings and create their interpretation. Collaborators included Laura Maters, an artist and MA Design student who carried out visual and audio research, produced audio and created the CD cover; Sabine Kussmaul, artist and PhD research student in Art and Design; and Chester alumni and artists, Estelle Woolley and Jessica Billington, who all carried out audio research.

Kevin said: “I’ve always been interested in drawing with sound, slowly building audio sculptures that gently seep into and out of the subconscious. I sometimes listen to radio as I drift in and out of sleep. I am then struck by how information suddenly pops up in my memory as the day warms up and I am then unsure whether I actually heard it on the radio or whether I dreamt it. This poses the question of fake audio. We are constantly fed mis-information and cannot ever really be sure that whatever we are witnessing is real. This research is an artistic investigation into the layers of deep fake audio.”

Andrew, whose background is in design and illustration, recorded samples from his family life and created audio inspired by the world around him, including the pandemic. He said: “I really enjoyed the process and examined it in a similar way to sketching - rather than making visual marks I'd select and combine beats and noises to create an overall 'picture' of a scenario. I'd take inspiration from a thing or a phrase or a clip and then structure an 'audio doodle' around it, combining found footage, archival media and constructed recordings.”

Sabine enjoyed using sounds from the outside world (recorded before the lockdown period began) to inspire her pieces before adding guitar to the recordings. She said: “The track, What on Earth is This, uses raw sound recordings from being on a steep windy ridge in the Peak District. Brainbirds is a track based on a run up on the road where I live. The swell of the furnace-like sound came from one of the houses’ heating system. It seemed to blow right into my brain.”

“I was challenged to step out of my comfort zone as my normal medium is print and graphic design”, added Laura, who worked with Andrew to create the album’s cover and found unusual animal inspiration.

She said: “The track Dinnertime is inspired by my cat who meows as soon as its feeding time. I sampled him and made a funky remix which describes his character.

“This project helped me to develop a new skill too in creating sound scapes.”

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