Home Chapter 11 Artist's sound installations
Artist's sound installations


Paul DeMarinis has been working with electronic composition and experimental musical processes since 1971. He has created performance works, computer installations, and sound works, and many of his works are inspired by historical inventions.

DeMarinis’s recent work involves speech, which is processed and synthesized through computers. One series of Demarinis’s works use lasers, optics, and computers to create new sounds by laser-scanning old gramophone records, wax cylinders, and holograms, and amplifying the light-modulated sounds.

 

RainDance Source by Paul Demarinnis, Sabine Starmayr. Ars Electronica.1998.

 

In the work RainDance, which I had the pleasure of viewing at Ars Electronica in 2001, twenty streams of water are modulated by proprietary electronic nozzles that respond to audio signals. The raindrops fall on the umbrellas provided for the visitors, who can stand under them and hear the water spray out the sound of the Blue Danube Waltz, an appropriate piece for the Austrian venue. The umbrellas actually act as speakers, and the tactile quality of the sound as it enters both your ear and hands is spectacular. [5]

Rebecca Horn’s art career spans over 30 years, in which she has worked in performance, installation, conceptual works, and feature-length films. Her work engages the intersection between the body and the machine, and she transforms and recontextualizes simple objects into new pieces, many with subtle sexual allusion.

 

Bee's Planetary Map by Rebecca Horn. 1998. Photo copyright cynthia at flickr

 

Rebecca Horn has used the body as one of her main sources of inspiration and points of departure. For an extended period of time she was confined to bed, which inspired her body extensions, sculptural prostheses, and in some cases, cocoon-like garments that extend and constrict the body while also creating delicate appendages. [6]

Ben Rubin and Mark Hansen have created a work called Listening Post, which is an installation that grabs text fragments from thousands of Internet chat rooms and bulletin boards. Using statistical analysis, the averages of the chat room texts are taken and collapsed into simple lines that are sung or read by a voice synthesizer and displayed across more than two hundred LED screens.

The work cycles through four movements with different arrangements of visual, aural, and musical elements. The work is very successful in dissociating the chat room communication from the conventional reception of the computer screen and instead placing it in a deeply moving sound space.

 

 

Listening Post by Ben Rubin and Mark Hansen. Photo by  fenchurch on Flickr

 

Listening Post is a powerful visual and aural environment that speaks to the ubiquity and immediacy of the virtually thousands of chat rooms and bulletin boards it monitors. All the messages that appear in this installation are acquired and broadcast seconds before they would appear in a chat room, and become reflections of the global communication of the web that is all around us. The statistical aspects of finding and collapsing the words and minds of hundreds of speakers is a poetic expression that makes reference to Roy Ascott’s notion of a Noetic network, or group consciousness, of the Web. [7]