45 Bell Ringers (20 Hz, 90-volt AC) (2016)

for 45-telephone brass dome bell ringers, microcontroller, cable, aligator clips, 12-volt battery, and variable-length cedar podiums

45 Bell Ringers (20 Hz, 90-volt AC) is for various brass dome bell ringers from 1950 to 1980, a microcontroller, cable, alligator clips, a 12-volt battery, and variable-length cedar podiums. The microcontroller drives a simple DC-to-AC converter, which changes the 12-volt DC battery output into a 20 Hz, 90-volt AC current to ring each bell. This unique signal emulates the ringing voltage that phone companies send to household telephone wall jacks. Using 14 relays to make a grid of 9 columns by 5 rows, each ringer can be turned on and off independently by the microcontroller. This simple compositional perimeter (on/off) was used to reimagine these bells as a new music in everyday life that transcends the “rings” historical meaning of regulation and control. Each bell’s cedar podium has been recycled into raised garden beds.

This work was developed at The Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts.

Howling May Occur (2016)

for 17 Marantz PMD201 tape decks, cassette tape loops, batteries, and hidden hinges

Howling May Occur is for 17 Marantz PMD201 portable cassette recorders that were purchased in bulk from an Emergency Services and Public Protection Department. The PMD201 user manual reads: “When the MONITOR switch is set to SOURCE, howling may occur. At that time, lower the monitoring volume.” By not lowering the monitoring volume as tape loops made of the failed Type III ferro-chrome cassette record the environmental sounds of the space, a kind of howling feedback occurs. The recorders were arranged on a 170-inch beam, vertically with hidden hinges. This reference to Donald Judd’s stack sculptures, and the genre of minimalism, was secondary to the stacks ability to offer different perspectives of sound in space. Nevertheless, this arrangement rubs against the political underpinnings of sculptural minimalism—as wrapped in machoism through permanence, perfection, and control—by eventually “dying.” After approximately 40 hours of continuous play, the batteries die, and the howls disappear into the ambient background.

This work was developed at The Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts.

A Heap of Dead Phones and a Slightly Changing Dial Tone (2016)

for about 300 Meridian office phones, 2 spot lights, and digital stereo sound

The telephone, a kind of time machine, can very literally take individuals across distances into other worlds of perception that our bodies cannot traverse. Telephony relies on echo’s, historical copies of sound which allow individuals a mode of listening to the past, presently, across distances. A Heap of Dead Phones and a Slightly Changing Dial Tone is a memorial for about 300 dead Meridian office phones from the 1980’s. They were purchased for $29.70 through the St. Vrain Valley School District just outside of Denver. This heap, which is framed by spotlights, is superimposed with a slightly changing dial tone (350 Hz and 440 Hz) emanating from two speakers. The phones have now been recycled through the Cross Training Center in Omaha.

This work was developed at The Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts.

99, 6-second Tracks Playing Pure Tones (B, D, E, F#, A, C#) and Silence from a CD at Random (2015)

for 21 Eiki 7070 Players

What is obsolete? How does technology corrupt or enhance our sense of self? Is it superficial to think that we need to return to a simpler, more primitive life in order to fill ourselves with vigor, independence, and creativity? What things will we overlook in our environment if we idealize a life full of technology? What are boundaries? How is the "traditional" and the "modern" working in dialogue–dialectically?

This work was developed at Fieldwork in Marfa, Texas. Photographs by Elise Sibley Chandler.

Wilderness (2014)

for 10 Califone tape recorders

Wilderness is a sound installation for ten identical Califone tape decks that play cassette loops. The tape loops are composed of field recordings that display the emission of machine sounds in national parks. The duration of the work, roughly 18-hours, is determined by battery life.

Developed at Fleetmoves in Wellfleet, MA. Photographs, Whitney Browne. Video, Guillaume Caron.