Trevor Pitt – Artist in Residence

(Featured Pho­to: Pete Ash­ton, Exhibition GOODBYE WITTGENSTEIN PART 2, 2016)


Trevor Pitt has been developing a new project for the past few months and needed time and space to test out his ideas. A Residency at the Atelierhaus Salzamt gives him the opportunity…

Shakepeare’s ‘Seven Ages of Man’ lyric poem

The project I am currently working on takes Shakepeare’s ‘Seven Ages of Man’ lyric poem from ‘As You Like it’ as framework for seven new audio pieces that I will make during my residency. While I am here I will work on the both the conceptual framework for the overall piece ‘Seven’ and in the studio I will create audio sketches of my ideas using Logic Pro X.

The opening stanza of the speech sets out the premise that as human beings we ‘perform’ ourselves throughout our lives:

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players,
They have their exits and entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.

The speech goes on to identify seven key stages in our lives that at the time of writing would have followed the ancient order of the planetary spheres. Each of the roles corresponds to a planetary personality determined by orbital periods, from shorter to longer: Moon (the mewling infant in Nurse’s arms), Mercury (the schoolboy), Venus (the lover), Mars (the soldier), Jupiter (the round-bellied justice) and finally Saturn (the old man).

For ‘Seven’ my intention is to make a cycle of sonic work comprising of seven parts that reimagines the speech in relation to contemporary life; the social, the persona, the public and the political. I will reflect on my own life and the roles that I have ‘performed’.


…some starting points that I am currently exploring…

The mewling infant: at the most formative parts of our lives we learn to strive for the attention of our mothers and carers. I’m interested in the idea of ‘attention seeking’ as a mode of operating throughout our lives.

The Schoolboy: I’m drawn to the optimism of this role and the idea that learning is now viewed as something we do throughout our lives.

The Lover: As a Gay man this has deep significance in terms of adolescence and sexual identity.

The Soldier: Rather than see this as related to military action I see this as a metaphor for life’s struggle. Dealing with what is thrown at us troughout of lives and ‘soldiering on’.

The Justice: Again I am looking at this as a metaphor for how justice is measured by adults against the optimism of youth.

The Pantaloon: I am fascinated by this role as it very much relates to our obsession with physical appearance and the façade of youthfulness.

Second Childishness: The final stages of our lives are complex and as someone who has cared for his own mother through illness and death I’m interested in how our roles become reversed.

There are numerous issues and contradictions using this text, not least of which it is fundamentally patriarchal and only refers to men. But that’s my challenge, making it relevant to societal changes.


…seven audio sketches…

My process will involve seven audio sketches that I will continue to work on when I return to the UK. Each stage will be a stand-alone piece as part of a cycle. In the studio I am using a Fender Telecaster guitar, Novation ReMote 250SL and Logic Pro X software. I am a novice using the software and being in the studio for three weeks will enable me to build my technical skills via the process of making new works.

My plan is to present the final piece at Shout! Festival in Birmingham in November 2020. This will involve playing the pieces live with an ensemble of sound artists and musicians. It will also be released via music publishing company Q-Pop.


…moving toward sound and music…

Over the past 5 years my work has moved towards sound and music. I have experimented with making my own music, performing, curating a music festival and setting up a radio station.

In 2015 I released my first EP as TREVA as part of an artist residency at Vivid Projects. Using the same chords, riffs and energy of songs I wrote when I was 17 I re-wrote the lyrics to four of them and during a series of studio sessions with musicians from Birmingham I released the ‘This Is Your Tomorrow’ EP on Once Bitten Records.

In 2017 I curated FLUID, a brand new music festival of new Queer sound and music in with a line-up of composers, experimental electronic musicians and new talent. And in November 2018 I piloted a new radio station ‘Transmission’ as part of my research into setting up an online radio platform based in Digbeth (Birmingham) from which all programmes will be made by artists, writers and composers.


…social and cultural context…

My work emerges from the social and cultural context within which they are produced and I adopt a spectrum of collaborative strategies and methods of enquiry.

Although my practice is fundamentally that of an artist I work as a curator, commissioner and a researcher dependent on the nature of the ‘role’ I take within the dynamic of the project.

I’m interested in projects that:

  • makes the connections between art and society
  • explores relationships between projects in the public sphere and the gallery
  • values participants and audiences as intrinsic and active collaborators
  • raises questions about notions of ‘authorship’
  • encourages openness and transparency in planning and actions
  • situates art in everyday life and situations
  • draws on personal experiences


(Featured Pho­to: Pete Ash­ton)

In 2016 I was part of a group of artists who visited Linz as part of an international exchange project so this is a return visit to Salzamt. I found the working environment at Salzamt incredibly supportive of local and international artists and being able to make new connections with other artists very stimulating. The exchange involved four artists from Birmingham (Mike Johnston, Emily Warner, Pete Ashton & myself) collaborating with three artists from qujOchÖ (Verena Henetmayr, Thomas Philipp and Andre Zogholy) on a series of projects. Participants in the program took the relationship between the Austrian born philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889 – 1951) and David Hume Pinsent from Birmingham (1891 – 1918) as a starting point for a series of projects that happened in Birmingham during July 2016 and in Linz during November 2016.
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