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