(Above: Project launched at i-cabin gallery, London, as part of solo exhibition 'I Was Born The Day Heidegger Died (But I Don't Know Much About His Work)', September 2008)

'THE ONGOING SONG or FILMING MYSELF SINGING ONE NOTE, FOR FIVE SECONDS, ONCE A YEAR, EVERY YEAR, FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE, EACH NOTE ADDED ONTO THE END OF THE ONE BEFORE, SLOWLY BUILDING UP INTO SOME KIND OF CONTINUOUS, WAVERING, IMPROVISED CHRONOLOGICAL TUNE' 2008 - onwards

An annual collaborative video project, that will, by definition, only become complete after I die. Each year I invite a different partner to work with me:


Notes on the Note / Directions for my Directors

'The Ongoing Song …' is one of a series of artworks where I use the collaborative process to connect directly with another individual. Each year I record my five second note I want to partner up with another individual, letting them influence every aspect of that year's piece of footage as they control the recording from behind the camera. Like you, these partners are people I've already met, who have some skills with video and audio recording equipment. I am interested in tapping into the conceptual interpretation, stylistic choices and technical decisions of each year's partner, submitting myself to your ideas, methods and sensibilities.

I am keen for the collaboration to only take up whatever time and energies you, the Director, are available to give to the project. So it could be squeezed into a gap during another filming project, take up a few minutesor on a free afternoon, or allow you the chance to quickly try out something new. I only expect each partner feels satisfied they have ‘put their stamp' on that year's footage.

So you have free reign to decide where, when and how we film it, the only givens on my part is that I will be singing my continuous note for the full five seconds; I will be somewhere in the foreground of the shot; the footage will be cropped to the start and stop of my singing; all effects will be produced ‘in camera'; I should be perfectly audible so minimal ambient noise; I will try and aproximate a middle C; and we can do as many takes as we like, the Director selecting their favourite. Each year's collaborator will undertake the project without seeing the previous year's efforts.

Each year's clip will enter into the archive after it has been recorded and trimmed to the length of the note. As is the rule, the clips will not be combined or shown together in any way till the project is complete. However, each five second shot is permitted to be screened in public once and once only, in isolation, before the next has been filmed.

For a variety of reasons there will be no payment for this work but each collaborator will get a unique artwork in exchange for their efforts.

Many thanks

Barry Sykes


Directors to date:

2008: Lewis Amar (Artist)
2009: Jake Strickland (Producer/Director - Digital Fluid)
2010: Jeremy Millar (Artist, Curator, Writer)
2011: Edna Conroy (Aunt, Home movie enthusiast)
2012: Toby Huddlestone (Artist, Curator)
2013: Angie Hicks (Artist, Photographer, Film maker)
2014: ?


An article about the launch of this project, written by Dani Admis for ArtRabbit.com is available here.