The Writing Mind

Explore the inner workings of the writer and their process with The Writing Mind

The Writing Mind is a participatory binaural sound installation created with funds from South West Creative Technology Network for Bath Festivals.

Writer and theatre maker Naomi Smyth interviewed working writers from Bath, Bristol and BSU about their thoughts, emotions and experiences during their writing process. Writers were drawn from fiction, theatre, live storytelling and poetry. The narrative was intended to create feelings of empathy and being inside the mind and body of a writer.

Naomi worked with binaural sound expert Dr Ruth Farrar to create and record an eight minute script that imitated the internal voices of a writer trying to work. They worked to structure the script in space around the audience using metaphors of the ‘angel’ and ‘devil’ on the shoulder, primal states of fear and flow, pulls to the distractions of the outside world and the voice of reason and focus.

Naomi designed and built a set based on a writer’s desk with visual references to the script. A laptop with open Google Doc, notebooks and pens were provided for audience participants to write during the experience if they wanted to.

Ruth designed and created a soundscape with the script, layering sound effects that referred both to the narrator’s external environment and internal states.

The audience feedback was fantastic, with 95% saying they felt increased empathy with writers. Many audience members also wrote into the Google doc or the notebooks and listened more than once. A few quotes from participants: “Captures my writing day perfectly” “Rewarding and challenging” “The narrator felt like a kindred spirit” “My thoughts and creativity were awakened” “Relatable, soft and dreamlike” “Very powerful and exciting” “Raised the hairs on my neck”

Ruth and Naomi are consulting with Stand and Stare and approaching Literature festivals for 2020 in hopes of creating a robust, tourable standalone installation. They are also looking into creating similar installations dealing with extreme sports for Ruth’s SheExtreme film festival.

Image courtesy of Nick Spratling
Disclaimer: The Bath Spa blog is a platform for individual voices and views from the University's community. Any views or opinions represented in individual posts are personal, belonging solely to the author of that post, and do not represent the views of other Bath Spa staff, or Bath Spa University as an institution.



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