The Sound Beneath the Surface (2013). Silicon wafer, architectural cable, and pink banana squash; field recordings; audio transducers and contact microphones; pedestal-installed speakers. Signal Flow thesis festival at Mills College.
This piece illustrates through sound the very human processes of production and exchange implied in the physical existence of commodities, of the material world that humans inhabit. Rather than being animated by human labour and social context, the world of objects in which we live tends to take on a life, importance, and fetish all its own, or disappears into the background of mere things, despite the amazing extensive infrastructure and individual human care put into its production. Recordings gathered from the production lines of the objects present--a factory, a farm, and a high-tech lab. The site specific recordings are played back through the object via an audio transducer coupled to it, and the physical reverberations of the object are amplified via a contact microphone through the speaker. Ultimately, recording from the contact microphone is fed back into the object, again and again, re-emphasizing each time its particular, natural resonant frequency--the physical properties of the object appropriate the sounds of labor, and fetishized resonant tones emerge from the noise of day to day life.
Special thanks to the kind-hearted and open minded business and indivduals that allowed me to record and donated objects:
architectural cable from Feeney, Inc. A family business in Oakland, CA, Feeney makes cable for bridges, fences, and structural support. Recordings from all stages of production and shipment are included here.
silicon wafer Anonymous high-tech firm where large machines produce and transform delicate wafers into the raw material for computer chips, meanwhile creatinga loud but gentle hum of fans punctuated by precise etching.
pink banana squash from Green String Farm Birds, roosters, tractors and hoeing dominate the soundscape at Green String Farm in Petaluma, CA, a farm that seeks to emulate the Earth’s natural cycles of production and plant nutrition.