sound art

Dreaming up Dreamcar - Marco D'Andrea on his 2016 Fieldwork installation

Fieldwork, Marco D'andrea, soundart

DREAMCAR (1971 Cadillac Coup De Ville)

DREAMCAR began as with an idea to put a sound installation inside a car and to create an immersive environment inside an old worn out vehicle. I (Marco D'Andrea) like the contrast between the familiar—an old car in a field— and the unexpected—loud and strange sounds and an impractical custom stereo. Early on I was influenced by La Monte Young’s Dream House installation and sought to achieve a similar all encompassing sound, but in a car. The Coup De Ville seemed perfect to me for Fieldwork, because of the the story about “the King of Maberly” - a nickname for a man who used to own the farm where Fieldwork is situated - selling some of his land to buy a Cadillac, but also because it is such a strong symbol of luxury, dreams and success. And there is something so amazing about a 20’ long car with just two doors. These early 70s cars are of the biggest ever made. I wanted to find a car that was a really strong contrast from what most of us drive today as I felt this heighten the themes of desire, aspirations and dreams and how this becomes embodied in 3 tons of metal. There is also the legacy of what this desire has meant in terms of pollution, economic inequality, and hyper-consumerism. All major 21st century problems, which I think have a lot to do with the culture that built, advertised, sold and bought something like a 1971 Cadillac Coup De Ville. Its a complicated symbol, both beautiful and deadly.  

The sounds heard I made from a mix of field recordings, samples of music and other recordings. With the sound, I was trying to bring out the various themes of the work but with an emphasis on loss, sadness and while also trying to explore spirituality in a way. Much of my sound composition is based on Morton Feldman’s Rothko Chapel, a music composition for soprano, alto, choir, percussion, celesta and viola which he created as a response to the Rothko Chapel, a small chapel that was built featuring the paintings of, and is generally inspired by Mark Rothko. Both the Chapel and the music composition were completed in 1971. I choose to use this music because of this association, but also because I think both Rothko Chapel and a Cadillac Coup De Ville are emblematic of a spiritual crisis which blanketed the 20th Century and we are still dealing with today. Additionally the dominant colour inside the Chapel is black, which matches the interior of my Cadillac. I used samples of Feldman’s Rothko Chapel, slowed it down, distorted it, and changed it in a bunch of different ways. I also mixed in sounds of the Cadillac’s engine, and recordings of the field, also heavily processed to the brink of familiarity. I like to use sounds that are on the border of something recognizable—like music and natural sounds—and noise because it can both lead the interpretation of the work while also helps open it up and invite people to bring their own thoughts, memories and dreams. Its is my hope that someone experiencing the piece will be drawn to reflect on some of the themes and associations I have outlined here, but also drift inward and reflect on their own feelings and associations.

The final main aspect is the solar panel, which I think helps bring the work into the present and adds a note of optimism. Using solar to power such a gas-guzzler has a certain irony but is also symbolic of technological change and (hopefully) the direction of future energy. It was a big challenge for me to get the sound to work on solar power because solar involves figuring out a lot of different variables and calculations that I have no pervious experience in. This challenge is really interesting: with fossil fuel power you just plug in (or fill the tank) and get as much power as you want for as long as you want, solar and other renewables require balance, knowing your environment, and matching output to input. As it is set up now, DREAMCAR generates more power in a 24 cycle than it uses, so it can be on and playing sound all the time. I anticipate that I will need to make adjustments for winter, and will likely install a timer in order to conserve power. 

 

  - Marco D'Andrea

 

 

piano pendulum

fieldwork-steven white-piano pendulum

To listen to Steven White's Piano Pendlum click on the video below.

Gone with the Wind: Thoughts on the Aeolian Organ

Gone with the Wind: Thoughts on the Aeolian Organ

By Jesse Stewart

In the Fall of 2010, I was honoured to have been asked by Susie Osler to contribute a piece to fieldwork, a beautiful outdoor art exhibition space near Perth, Ontario. I decided that I wanted to create a work that would draw on my dual background in the visual and sonic arts, so I created an Aeolian Organ consisting of tuned pipes ranging in length from roughly twelve to eighteen feet. These pipes are mounted vertically and are distributed across the field in such a way as to create a waveform across the horizon. Made out of 4-inch diameter black ABS pipe, the pipes elicit different tones as wind blows across vertical openings near the top of each tube. These openings are oriented in different directions such that shifts in wind direction activate different harmonics of different pipes, resulting in an ever-changing series of harmonies. The distal openings near head height on each pipe serve as listening holes for visitors to the site.

The pipes are tuned to a natural minor scale or "aeolian mode," named after Aeolus, the Greek god of wind. Although the pipes sound mainly on windy days, one can hear reflections of ambient sonic environment in each tube at all times in much the same way that children “hear the ocean” inside empty seashells. The length of each resonating pipe sculpts the ambient sound, reinforcing different portions of the harmonic spectrum. The piece thus draws attention to both the landscape and the soundscape in all kinds of weather, encouraging those who engage with the work to think about the relationships between themselves, the landscape, and the sonic environment.

On April 28, 2011—two days before I was slated to uninstall the work—severe winds swept through Southern Ontario, downing trees and injuring dozens of people. The winds—which topped speeds of 120 km per hour at times—knocked down several wind organ pipes, bending the ¾ inch galvanized steel rods supporting them in 90 degrees. I would have liked to have heard what that sounded like! I take this occurrence as a lesson in impermanence and a reminder of the extraordinary power of nature. In many ways, this is what the piece was about in the first place.

 My sincere thanks go to Susie Osler and the entire fieldwork collective for the opportunity to show this piece at their beautiful site.

Jesse Stewart April 30, 2011

www.jessestewart.ca
  

New Work Now In The Field!

fieldwork, jesse stewart's aeolian organ

Two new installations are now at fieldwork!

In the field:

Aeolian Organ, an installation by Ottawa artist, composer, musician, and writer Jesse Stewart consists of tuned pipes of various lengths distributed across the field in such a way as to create a waveform across the horizon. Made out of 4-inch diameter black ABS pipe, the pipes elicit different tones as wind blows across vertical openings near the top of each tube. These openings are oriented in different directions such that shifts in wind direction will activate different pipes, resulting in an ever-changing series of harmonies. The pipes are tuned to a natural minor scale or "aeolian mode," named after Aeolus, the Greek god of wind. Although the pipes will only sound on windy days, the piece draws attention to both the landscape and the soundscape in all kinds of weather, encouraging those who engage with the work to think about the relationships between themselves, the landscape, and the sonic environment. 

This installation will run until the spring 2011.



On the website:

Kelly Price, media artist, writer, and musician from BC has created our first online installation.  


Field of Play has been developed as an online installation for the fieldwork website. It is inspired by nostalgia for growing up in rural Ontario, and draws on memories of playing in open fields as a child.  Based on a series of sound recordings done in the spring of 2010 at a chosen field site on Gabriola Island, BC, acoustic elements and the experience of inhabiting the field stie became the starting points for the creation of an interactive, online landscape.

Questions surrounding the interplay between tangible/virtual landscapes, embodiment and the internal landscape of the imagination are key to Field of Play.  The user is invited to play within a virtual 'field' of sound and image.  Although it can be a challenge to linger, to slow down and listen, it is this challenge that informs the experience.  It is in stillness and attention to detail that moments of playfulness are uncovered.  Field of Play is a digital meditation on the pleasure of creating and holding space in order to re-engage with oneself and the environment.

This installation is ongoing.



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