Untitled (Plate Tectonics)
Rhizome Commissions Proposal
Sound maintains a slippery relation to the arts, being a force that refuses to resolve into the mode of the object, the musical scale, the architectural effect, or the photographic/phonographic "image", although clearly it is involved in all these, often simultaneously. One of sound's great qualities is its disregard for boundaries. The project I am proposing embraces the mulitple modes that sound operates in, exploring sound as a complex interpenetrating field -- a field of material, of force, and of social interaction.
Untitled (Plate Tectonics), then, is a project that explores sound as a building material -- as a literal force in the construction and transformation of spaces, as well as a material in the formation of social architectures, both actual and virtual.
The project begins with field recordings taken in museums and art institutions. This body of sound will then migrate into three interrelated structures: a solid material structure, in the form of a series of unique acetate records; a fluid spatial structure of temporary listening spaces and venues; and a superfluid information structure in the form of an online hub where all of the sounds will be hosted and available for additions and transformations by the broader community (made openly accessible through Creative Commons licensing).
The project is elaborated in three phases:
Phase 1: Plate Formation
I will make background or "room tone" recordings at New York-based museums and institutions, including MoMA, The Sculpture Center, The Met, The New Museum, and The Museum of the City of New York. I'm interested in these sites as regulated social spaces that are focused on a visual coherence, but whose aural dimension is usually overlooked, and rarely documented or preserved.
A unique one-off acetate phonograph record (also known as a "dub plate") is then made from each location, with the raw field recording on the "A" side, and a processed sound work made from the recording on the "B" side (see work samples below for examples of this process). These records are the structural plates, or building blocks, of the piece.
Phase 2: Continental Drift
This collection of records, packaged for shipping and easy expansion into a browsable archive complete with instructions and technical specs, becomes a traveling structure, like a nomad's tent, or a "book-mobile" lending library, which is made available to artists, venues, and institutions for the establishment of temporary spaces of listening, in either an installation or performance context. The records become the building materials for constructing temporary spaces of aural architecture. The sound of one social space (or a mixing of these spaces) will be overlaid on the physical space of the listening environment, expanding and transforming the dimensions of the space at hand.
Each venue will also be asked to contribute to the project by creating their own field recordings to document each space of listening. These recordings should be taken while the piece is on view, but may or may not include any actual sound from the piece itself, depending on what's happening in the room at the time.
Phase 3: Subduction and Magmafication
The original recordings will be placed online under a creative commons license and made accessible to the public for listening and reworking into their own pieces. To this will be added the field recordings from the installation and performance spaces. The site also serves as an open archive to which other artists can submit, and re-process, their own recordings of institutional spaces around the world. An ongoing selection of these recordings and processings will be selected for pressing into new dub plate records which will be added to the traveling library, in a feedback loop of both aural and social architectures.
International locations I will approach to host the project include Diapason (NYC), Leerraum (Bern), Ausland (Berlin), Gallery 1412 (Seattle), and Program gallery (Berlin).
Although participation in the online project is open, artists who would be invited specifically to engage with the project will include Andre Goncalves (Portugal), Tomoyoshi Date (Japan), Christof Cargnelli (Berlin), Gil Sanson (Venezuela), John Hudak (New York), Zimoun (Switzerland), Vincent Goudreau (Hawaii), Baz Nichols (UK), Keiko Uenishi (NYC), Heribert Friedl (Vienna), and Paulo Raposo (Lisbon).
Month 1: Field Recordings. Finalize venues for traveling project.
Month 2-3: Processing and composition. Posting sounds online for public interaction.
Month 4: Dub Plate production and packaging for shipping. Continued online interaction, resulting in new re-workings and new sites for installation of records or online pieces by the collective.
Month 5: Send the mobile project to first venue. First installation of Untitled (Plate Tectonics).
Month 6: Review online works for new dub plate pressings. Produce new plates.
Month 7: Mobile project returns "home", where the new plates are added before it is sent out to the next venue.
Month 8 onward: Further combinations and additions to both the material mobile project and the online component, potentially including a netlabel compilation and the organizing of further local listening situations based on the the online works (with the Phonography community or the Society for Acoustic Ecology, for example).
Artist's Fee: $1,500.
Dub Plates: $1,800 (20 plates @ $90/plate, at Aardvark Mastering, Denver, CO).
Installation equipment and materials: $700.
Shipping: $1,500 (5 shipments @ $300/shipment, round trip, international).
Website design and misc: $500.
Volumes in Translation for Graham
Sound composition, 10:52, 2008
From the 3" CD "Four States"
White_Line Editions, UK
Description: A piece that works with field recordings of specific sites (in this case a series of exhibition venues) and reworks them into a composition that is poised between a musical and a spatial/architectural language. The piece, for example, attempts to evoke certain qualities and dynamics of the original locations, and the phenomenal experience of them in time.
Untitled (Weathering Steel)
Sound composition, 4:23, 2007
From the exhibition and CD "The Sound of Things: Unmonumental Audio"
The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York City
Description: This piece was created from field recordings taken at the Storm King Art Center, recorded from the perspectives of a series of permanent outdoor sculptures there. The piece engages with questions of minimalist form and its relation to time (and temporal perception), and approaches sound as a sculptural material, malleable in dynamics and time in ways parallel to Richard Serra's use of weathering steel in his environmental works.
Chora Three by Five
Sound composition, 5:09, 2008
From the forthcoming book and CD "Archisonics"
White_Line Editions, UK
Description: Presenting a disembodied, spectral architecture, or a music played by the space itself, this piece is adapted from the sound installation "Chora in Three" (2008). Field recordings were taken in the exhibition building as it was still under construction. The installation then overlayed these aural elements of the site's "becoming" back onto the space in its "finished" form, revealing the flux, instability, and generative elements that dissolve typical notions of a constant or fixed architectural form.
CV and short bio