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Wednesday 20 September 2017

Favourite things: Sharon Phelan

25-year-old artist, curator, and musician, Sharon Phelan, cast the right musical note with these pitch-perfect pieces

Records: I'm currently completing an MPhil in Music and Media Technologies and discovering these composers, Alvin Lucier and Steve Reich, has had a significant effect on my outlook towards music. They have made me realise that sound is an incredibly physical phenomenon, and that the best ideas are usually the simple ones.

Books During my years as a fine-art student, I worked in a library. After previous stints in bars, working there was the most peaceful and productive time for both gathering information and letting my imagination run wild. Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities lets you do just that.

Bicycle: Given to me by an artist friend, this vintage Raleigh may be in need of a serious paint job, but it never fails to impress. It's the perfect size for cycling around town, and I love the front and back dynamo lights.

Contact microphones: These cheap piezoelectric transducers, usually found in birthday cards and alarm systems, can either be used as a microphone or speaker. I use them all the time in my work to record or produce sounds. If you dip them in plasti-dip, you can even use them to record underwater!

Drums: I've just finished making an installation called Music for Drums and Bass. And, over the past few months, I've had to beg, steal and borrow drums from friends and family. This one, in particular, is from singer and MC Julie Dillon and, like her, is a complete wild card, in the best sense.

Electric organ: I live with and near a lot of artists and musicians and one of the advantages is being able to share resources. This vintage Baldwin Discoverer Electric Organ is on loan from a neighbour, Nina. It has been the reason for many enjoyable musical sessions with friends.

Krautrock: Soon after seeing Cluster play live in The Village, I bought this book. The week before they played, a meteorite had fallen to earth over Ireland. And several days later, a taxi driver from Donegal, who was in his early-60s, told me how meteorites and shooting stars were a common phenomena when he was growing up, and taught me an old Irish word to describe fireballs in the sky: 'Fosclaiocha'.

Carpet: I grew up in Bahrain and this carpet was one of the first things my parents bought when they moved into our family home. When it was time to move on, I got to keep it, and now it turns everywhere I go immediately into 'home'.

Vespa: After a decade in the garden shed, my boyfriend recently got his 1975 Vespa refurbished at Modern Classic Scooters in Inchicore. You know they did a good job, when you catch a group of Italians taking pictures of it.

Zoom recorder This Zoom is the handiest recording device I've ever come across, and has replaced my camera for documenting trips away. It's amazing how you can get a strong sense of atmosphere and temperature from a recording.

Music for Drums and Bass by Sharon Phelan will be shown as part of The Sound-Sweep at the launch of Monster Truck Gallery's new exhibition space at Number 4, Temple Bar, from June 4-15. See www.monstertruck.ie or www.sharonphelan.com.

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