Jez riley French is an artist who uses intuitive composition, field recording, improvisation and photography to explore his emotive responses to places and situations.
French is best known as a field recording artist and specialist microphone builder. Alongside performances, exhibitions and installations, French lectures and runs workshops around the world on field recording and the act and art of listening.
His hand-built microphones have been used to record a vast range of sounds, from orchestras at the BBC Proms, to sound for films such as ‘The Theory of Everything’, ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Gravity’. They were also used to record sounds for David Attenborough’s Planet Earth II, allowing people to hear a new species of river dolphin.
In 2017, French was part of the team behind ‘Height of the Reeds’, which transformed the Humber Bridge into a sound installation that was experienced by over 10,000 people during Hull’s City of Culture year.
A section of his piece for Tate Modern was recently included in an intervention as part of the ‘500 years of British Art’ series at Tate Britain.
French also curates the ‘engraved glass’ label and the ‘a quiet position’ series of online releases exploring the broad ideas surrounding field recording as a primary art of sound.
Jez riley French is preoccupied by the ways in which people listen. His work often stems from a desire to reveal sounds that would otherwise be unreachable, or unnoticed. He makes work from sources such as the electromagnetic waves of a lightbulb or fruit machine, building vibrations, and the miniscule sounds of feeding insects.
In recent work, he has used his microphones to listen to ants consuming fallen fruit, to hear a new species of river dolphin, and to document the sound of glaciers melting in Iceland.
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