EM:16 Miriam Bean

The EM16 Interviews are something I've been really looking forwards to. As all our artists are sharing the same space with the same time frame and creating something wildly different, I wanted to mirror this in our interview. I came to each interview with the same six questions and a cup of something hot and let the conversation flow naturally to really let them show off their own personality and charm. Before the interviews, I did say they would be 'micro interviews' with them only being six questions, the problem is they're all too bloody interesting so you get a treat with something a little longer.

 Miriam Bean's Noise Maker Workshop

 Miriam Bean's Noise Maker Workshop

Have you felt much of a difference creating for a ‘graduate show’ as opposed to creating as a student?

The atmosphere is completely different because at uni even though it’s the first steps into doing art in a gallery sort of setting, and that’s brilliant, it’s not a real gallery. You’re in a bubble at uni, which is not always a negative thing, it’s not all scary all at once so it builds you up to something like this. This has been just great to meet like-minded people who are all wanting the same sort of thing. Last night, when I went to the [Julian Rowe ‘It’s Too Soon To Say Opening], just to be introduced to people who are doing art, they’re going out and making it in the real world.

So, you’ve decided on the name Pulse, what does that mean to you?

Because I work with sound, it’s a very physical thing as opposed to visual art, when it’s a static object you don’t really interact with it directly, it’s a very separate thing to you; whereas sound, sound waves, are really strong, you feel the vibrations and they kind of pulse. It’s kind of about the physicality of sound in that sense - I’m interested in people’s perceptions of sound and what our preconceptions of sound are and just the variety of opinions that can arise from engaging with a piece of art that has sound in it.

You’re a sound artist - what influenced you to get involved in Sound as your primary medium?

I come from a really musical background but I always wanted to kind of rebel. I didn’t want to be a musician so originally at uni, I did some painting and kind of dabbled in other mediums, like video, but overriding was always this influence - like i’m such a massive music fan and everything I do, I was kind of analysing. Why do I like this so much? Why do people hate this so much? It was from that that I was like, why don’t I make art about people’s opinions of music, it’s such a gut reaction. People have arguments about music quite easily, oh I hate this band, I love this band but with art they’re a lot more tentative and they’re not sure how to judge it. So I wanted to kind of bring the two together and have art people feel comfortable enough about to just be like ‘oh it just makes me feel like this’ without going am I meant to think that?

Do you find it’s easy to connect with people who do music and art in a more traditional sense or do you feel in between?

Sometimes I feel like I can relate to both and sometimes I feel completely like an outsider. I don’t always feel like I have a right to comment on a painting and I don’t always have a right to kind of comment on the composition of that piece because they’re the experts and I’m sort of a hybrid.

So what should we expect out of you on opening night, tell us about your project?

A lot of what I’m doing recently is kind of looking at the physics of sound, in a very light sort of sense not all the mathematical equations, nothing like that; just pure sound waves and how they act in the space because they act quite differently to recorded sound because they’re waveform is so rounded it sort of bounces about in a weird way and you go to different parts of the room and think that sounds odd. What I’ve been looking at is how to transform sound energy into light energy and then back into sound again so it’s kind of more about… the thing is, it’s a very technical thing I’ve never done before but I’m taking a risk.

If you’re going to take a risk though, your debut graduate show is the place to take it.

It might be a bit more subtle. Other work I’ve done has been quite big and because it’s a group show I wanted to tone it down and, it’s subtle in terms of its sound but it'll hopefully be really intriguing at the same time.If it’s kind of in a corner it’s ooh what’s that? You’ll just want to go over and investigate it.

What do you want to get out of this residency?

I think mixing with other artists and having a base to be creative because y’know, no matter how hard you try, when you’re at home you just don't want to work, you get distracted and you go off and do other things so it’s a great space to be focus.Hopefully discover some new things as well, talking to other people, discovering what their influences are and just learn a bit more.

I suppose everyone here has such different mediums as well -

We’ve all come from different unis so we’ve all got a different set of experiences too.

You’re from Uni of Lincoln, are you a local to Lincoln?

No I’m from Leicester, well Loughborough originally, then Leicester

Do you think there’s something special about the East Midlands for creativity?

It’s growing - say Leicester for example, compared to Nottingham, it’s not great for the arts especially - it’s not got many venues but I can see it creeping up - there’s more and more places that are wanting to do the arts and involve the arts. I want to be there when it all kicks off.

How are you finding sharing a space with 7 other artists?

It’s quite a big space for 7 people but I’ve found it’s, so far, it’s only been a week I suppose so it’s hard to know but we’ve all got on so well considering we don’t know each other at all. You’ve just got to go for it.

Written by Lucinda Martin for Surface Gallery

Images by Gavin 'Urban Shutterbug' Conwill