In addition to discussion of sonic politics, this blog will include short audio sculptures that investigate the interaction between space and sound. This is a project that’s been in the conceptual stages for a while.
The idea is 1) to render an image of a space in the shortest time possible (always under four minutes, and usually under two); 2) to try to capture that space in an active moment so as to render its image robustly; and 3) to select politically compelling or aesthetically charged moments.
My only real background in art is as an amateur photographer who was lucky enough to be able to take multiple classes over the course of three years at a photography school where I was doing fundraising work. I read a lot and thought a lot about approaches to photography during those years, and what I picked up has informed my ideas about audio sculptures. I try to record the same event multiple times from different angles, and to think about framing.
Sound, of course, is very different from imagery. A recording (usually) has a definite length, and (usually) suggests a linear apprehension. Viewers are used to approaching visual media in a less linear, more deliberately subjective fashion. People don’t usually attend to photographs for more than a couple of minutes, and this threshold of interest likely holds for sound as well. I think it might be brazen to expect someone to listen to 11 minutes of a recording, unless they’ve really come to trust you, or unless there’s a rock-solid narrative, or unless it’s music they like. So I’m starting, at least, with shorter segments. Listen to them like you would look at a snapshot – expect funny juxtapositions, emphatic arrays of forms, minor narratives, and surreal scenes.
Artwork #1 was recorded inside a student art gallery in Madison, Wisconsin. For the first minute, I walked around with the door closed. You can hear voices. Then I opened the door and joined the group outside.