Dredspace #1: Blood & Fire (work in progress)

(3D Modelling by Szandor Dashwood)

[nggallery id=16].

Worktype: Intermedial Room Installation (Audio, Visual, Sculptural, Spatial, Cybernetic, Relational, Social)
Materials: Red Lasers, Directional Speaker Array, Custom Sub-Bass Presence, Smoke Machine, Custom Sensor Electronics, Darkness.

A darkened room is intersected by red lasers – malignant entities, whose role is uncertain. As visitors enter the space, their bodies activate the room installation. At the centre of the space, a black monolith is picked out by a single white spotlight – three sub-bass speakers are incorporated into this dense sculptural form and the room is filled with a thick wash of bass, sub bass and, sub-sub bass frequency. A feeling of dread denseness, at one time a comforting, unifying physicality, at another a malevolent force creating queasiness, claustrophobia and paranoia. The monolith draws visitors towards it like a black hole. Unknown to the them, the space is intersected by invisible lines of directional audio streams. As they move through the space these virtual channels of paranoiac transmissions, sinister and dreadful streams of intrasubjective terror, are seemingly broadcast into their skulls.

Dr Steve Goodman’s recent publication ‘Sonic Warfare: Sound, Affect and The Ecology of Fear’ will provide the experimental theoretical backbone of the proposed work. His discourse unifies a number of areas which are of great interest to me at this time: afrofuturism, entertainment-military sound practices, dub culture and urban experience. The curators approached me with a concept of ‘paranoia’, this, and Goodman’s work slotted together to provide me the inspiration for the proposed piece.

Construction by Don McLoglin and Oliver Gentili http://www.coroflot.com/o_gentili
Custom Circuitry by Michael Fisher, Lisa Hall and Ariel Karsh.
Lasers provided by Will Laslett
Thanks to Joel Cahen, Barbara Fuchs, Caroline Christie, Julia @ ASC and Kirk Woolford. Without whom, this would not have been possible. Diolch yn fawr.

Arduino / Electronics etc
1 x Arduino Uno
2 x Arduino Duemilanove

Car Audio
Power a car amp from the mains.
Skytronic 13.6V, 15A DC Regulated Power Supply
Juce JA 990 3000W Two channel Amp
2 x Audiobahn 15″ Drivers (AW1500V)

Ultrasonic Speakers
4 x AS013A Ultrasonic Speakers
2 x AS028A Ultrasonic Speakers

“Recent interest in the potential adverse human health effects of infrasound (generally inaudible sound with a frequency of <20 Hz) arises from health concerns expressed by the residents of Kokomo, Indiana. Several individuals in this community have complained of subjective non-specific symptoms including annoyance, sleep disturbance, headaches, and nausea. These symptoms are perceived by the individuals to be due to a low-frequency hum-like noise in and around their homes that is not clearly audible to everyone. Several local, state, and federal agency officials as well as acoustic experts in the academic community and private sector have been called upon to assist in investigating these health complaints. As yet, no firm conclusions have been reached regarding the relationship between this low-frequency noise and the residents’ health complaints." (http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/htdocs/Chem_Background/ExSumPdf/Infrasound.pdf. Accessed May 2nd 2011) http://forums.makezine.com/comments.php?DiscussionID=3023

interesting future project? LDR’s combined with camera vision can locate position in 3D space. room laser harp.

The Sound Moneyfesto

Worktype: Multimedia Performance
Location: Serpentine Gallery, London

The Sound Moneyfesto was launched by Lee Scrivner at the Manifesto Marathon 2008 at the Serpentine Gallery in London. The mp3 above is his demo of one of four compositions performed by the ensemble.

It used music, satire, and word play to comment on the 2008 banking crisis (specifically the failures of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) and the idea of sound money.

The Sound Moneyfesto was launched in concert with manifestos from Marina Abramovic, Brian Eno, Gilbert & George, Yoko Ono and Vivienne Westwood.

“Ich Sitze in einem Raum” (for Alvin Lucier and Rainer Hoffman)

Location: Germany
Worktype: Composition
Materials: Recorded Media (Stereo Audio)


My sense of disconnection from the people of Bad Ems as a consequence of language and the reverberant nature of the Kunstlerhaus Schloss Balmoral architecture. I was working in a disembodied and digital process, where, despite my actual presence in Bad Ems, much of my time was spent online and isolated from the real-world context around me. Although this time was highly productive I decided to counter such work with a piece intended to connect me more closely with the people and environment around me.

I had made the acquaintance of Rainer Hoffman, administrator of the Kunstlerhaus, a few days earlier, we had managed an interesting conversation, and I had noticed that he had difficulties with his hearing, and spends the day with hearing aids (specifics of this?). I myself was experiencing a restricted access to auditory world around me, due to the building’s sonic characteristics, and my own poor understanding of German. I had for a long time wanted to try a version of Alvin Lucier’s ‘I Am Sitting in a Room’ (1970) and so proposed a collaborative work to Rainer.

‘I am Sitting in a Room’ is one of Lucier’s most well known works, and he has always encouraged interpretations of the piece. It is a work based in a short piece of spoken text, originally spoken by Lucier himself. The complete text of this original version is presented below:

I am sitting in a room different from the one you are in now. I am recording the sound of my speaking voice and I am going to play it back into the room again and again until the resonant frequencies of the room reinforce themselves so that any semblance of my speech, with perhaps the exception of r-r-r-rhythm, is destroyed. What you will hear, then, are the natural resonant frequencies of the room articulated by speech. I regard this activity nnnnnot so much as a demonstration of a physical fact, but more as a way to s-s-smooth out any irregularities my speech might have.

This short piece of text explains the work quite succinctly, and the final work was originally presented as a forty minute recording. I asked Rainer to translate the text into German, and whether he would be prepared to have his voice recorded for the purposes of the piece. He was initially hesitant, selfconscious about the way he speaks German, saying that people often comment that he speaks his mother tongue in a strange way as a result of his hearing disability. When however I explained Lucier’s own problems with speech, and that his own experience would add to the work, he readily agreed. Rainer’s translation of Lucier is as follows:

Ich sitze in einem Raum, der anders is als der Raum, in dem Sie sich gerade befinden. Ich nehme meine Sprechstimme auf und spiele sie ab, nehme sie auf und spiele sie ab, immer wieder – bis die Resonanzschwingungen des Raum sich selbst verstäken, so dass jede Ähnlichkeit mit dem Sprechen, auxer vielleicht mit dem Sprechrhythmus, ausgelöscht wird. Was Sie dann noch hören, sind die natürlichen Resonanzschwingungen des Raumes, gegliedert durch das Sprechen. Diese Handlung ist für mich weniger die Demonstration eines physikalischen Sachverhaltes, als vielmehr ein Weg, alle UnregelmäXigkeiten, die meine Sprache möglicherweise aufweist, zu glätten.”

The full iterative realisation of this work was carried out in the KHSB on the evening of 20th April 2008. The work is significantly different from Lucier’s, and the openness of his original intentions should be credited. My aims in attempting this work were met in the process of carrying out this work. I wanted a way to engage with the acoustic space of the KHSB, I needed some means of communication across a language barrier, I wanted to address my inability to speak or understand German and also to explore issues of authenticity with spoken German, interestingly fore grounded by Rainer’s inhibited access to the auditory. I would take this opportunity to thank Rainer for his participation in this work, and to hope that he enjoys listening to the transformation of his voice manifested by the acoustics of his daily place of work.

Cat’s Cradle: Obstruction Placed in the Path of the Artist (in the Interests of Transnational Security) (Knives & String Piece)

Obstruction Placed: Position 1: (Distant from Art) (exterior)


Obstruction Placed: Position 2: (Approaching the Kunstlerhaus) (exterior)


Obstruction Placed: Position 3: (Inside the “Waterbugs” installation) (interior)


Obstruction Placed: Position 4: (Kunstlerhaus Downstrairs Hallway: In-between the “Waterbugs”, “Skype Glitch.voices (remodelled)” and “Dissolving Ghost Piano” installations) (interior)


Obstruction Placed: Position 5: (Kunstlerhaus Stairwell: Ground/First Floor: “Waterbugs” and “Dissolving Ghost Piano” installations audible) (interior)


Obstruction Placed: Position 6: (Kunstlerhaus First Floor) (interior)


Obstruction Placed: Position 7: (Kunstlerhaus Second Floor Stairwell – leading to open door to “Cat’s Cradle”) (liminal)

Obstruction Placed: Position 8: (Having Crossed the Border) (exterior)


Obstruction Placed: Position 9: Overlooking (Higher Up in the Wooded Hillside Listening Down and Around (exterior)

Materials: white cotton thread, interior, exterior and liminal space, 7 kitchen knives, 7 electric guitar strings, white spray paint,

Of the works created during the residency, ‘Cat’s Cradle’ is perhaps the most complex piece, and the hardest to describe, both in terms of process and in its final form. There are several strands of thought running through this piece, and is the most conceptual and non-sound related work I have created to date. The initial concept for the piece was a direct result of my being detained at the hands of the British Transport Police when leaving King’s Cross Eurostar. I was thinking of a way of evoking an idea of a journey, and a means of expressing obstacles placed in the way of the traveller. This idea came from the concrete experience, but took on a different meaning as I explored the KHSB.

The Blurred Compilation Album (Track 10) Rajesh Mehta “Sounding Buildings: New Music and New Architecture”

Keynote Address

The atmosphere is becoming more cordial in the room. People are chatting more with each other.

Rajesh began his professional career as an Acoustic Engineer and developed an interest in modern architecture and the acoustics of particular buildings. He has an interest in mapping and visual art, alongside a background in music, playing the trumpet. He began to approach his instrument as a modifiable architecture, a structure in which to intervene, and he has, over the years, developed a number of techniques to extend the trumpet using pipes, lamps, mutes and slides.

In the early 21st century his visual art began to intersect with the architectural drawings to which he was being exposed, and developed into meta-compositional scores, which he describes as ‘imaginational maps’.

This dynamic between score, instrument, architecture, space, and movement came together in a collaborative project called ‘Sounding Buildings’.

A-V technician wearing a headset is instructing a camera operator.

Mutter. Mutter.
playback > > DVD of the Film Project ‘Sounding Buildings’, MIT

Snik, Snik, SNik. DVD play.

Female voice – AhhHHh. Modulations in tone. No words.

Flute overlay.

DVD snik, snik – Screen and sound frozen for 3 seconds.

Rattle.                     Drone.
Insect type sounds.

Palimpsest video. Static buildings, maps.

Overlayed textures.

Arrhythmic rattles.

Difference video overlay.

Skratch.                 Scatta.                 Squiggle.

Tambourine. Tap and shake.

Drum tap lo.

Violin glissandi. Microtonal variations.

Rhythm disappears.

Cello. Lo glissandi. And Pluck.



Brass. Buzzy Swells. Almost as analogue synth resonant sweep.

Lo bowed strings.

Some suggestion of trumpet tonality.

Fade out. Screen transition to black.

Rajesh describes the importance of the DVD as an integrating medium. Video compositing and the synchronisation of audio and visual material acted as a ‘glue’ between disparate domains; namely the architecture of sound, derived from drawing notated scores and the architecture of environments. His concerns at this time were the historically reoccurring interest in possible synaesthetic translations from the visual to the audible domains.

He goes on to a more detailed discussion of his strategies with regards to his score making, and his development of a multidimensional approach in keeping with his architectural concerns. The scores he has developed address pitch, rhythm, melodic ornamentation, and spatial trajectories thorough the performance space.
“The music is constructed from a map – like an architect”.

Alongside this architectural construction of sound, is a complementary and contradictory deconstruction of the architecture of his instrument. He demonstrates his hybrid trumpet experiments; by removing the slides from the trumpets pipes, its sound becomes a spatialised simultaneity, operating both forwards and backwards, and also existing in a newly acknowledged immanence, surrounding the composer/performer alerting the audience to a reinvigorated engagement with the specifics of space.

He presents us with DVD documentation of a realisation of the project which occurred in Cork (year? Specifics?).

playback > >

ding DVD auto resume.

The camera moves through a modern art gallery at night, picking out the shadows of audience members moving freely through the space, and the illuminated faces of musicians and sound artists distributed throughout the gallery space.

Female voices. Reverberant in space.
Muted trumpet.
Electronics and laptop.
Kaospad. Version 2.
Bass trumpet.
Stratocaster. Highly effected and transformed.



Tone Generator.


“Different happenings all over the building. It’s hard to capture everything that was going on over 4 floors”.


Questions from the floor.

“How much were you hearing when you were drawing?”

“…a conscious choice about language, a monkey going up and down, and this takes time…”.

“…it was done very freely…”.

“It was mixed, but it was nice to be in a system that existed before and after listening”.

Rajesh expands upon this point and relates it to Hindi music theory, where ‘nada’, the struck sound, complements ‘anhatanada’, the unstruck sound. This ‘before sounding’ provides the metaphysical basis for sound-making within the culture from which his family originates.

“We’ll leave it there.”


The Blurred Compilation Album (Track 3): Reception Area / Café, MacRobert Building. Uni. of Aberdeen

Reception Area / Café, MacRobert Building. Uni. of Aberdeen


Skraa. Of chair being dragged across tiled floor.

Background chat of students in café area.

Giggles, laughter.
Very very quiet air-conditioning.
Toddler’s voice.

The space is reverberant, sound waves slightly softened by the red carpet in a visitors’ area to one side of the main space.


Rustle / rustlessss / rustle The receptionist opens a carrier bag.

The architecture is a similar piece of anonymous post-modern construction as the airport. It could be a hotel, a doctor’s surgery, a hospital, leisure centre.

Easily seen as a generic non-place.

The 2 second reverb is quiet pleasant.

Female voice to left, “Do you know where 87 is?” (Scottish accent).

Single short whistle from people leaving the building.


In walking around the city centre today, these was little to identify the place as sounding distinct from any other modern British high street. The same shops, the same cars, the same mobile phones. There is a significant number of non-Scots in the city, probably due to the important oil business (Aberdeen – the energy centre of Europe on various signs on the road from the airport to the city centre).

Two events altered me to the difference. The first, a single seagull cry from above Union Street. No sign of the bird itself. The second event, repeated in two different occasions were minor difficulties in understanding and being understood in speech transactions. Questions and responses had to be repeated on both occasions.

A heating unit above the entrance turns on blowing dry hot air across the room. There are some loose screws that are being vibrated by this.

I am going to explore the building. There are a number of installations in the south wing of the ground floor.