If music has an effect on snakes, it is not because of the spiritual notions it offers them, but because snakes are long, because they lie coiled on the ground, because their bodies touch the ground at almost every point; and the musical vibrations which are communicated to the ground reach their bodies like a very subtle and prolonged massage; well I propose we treat the spectators like snakes that are being charmed…
- Antonin Artaud, 1938
Tactical Uses (2) Catalog - download pdf
An installation drawing upon the ecological effects of vibration and the history of sonic warfare.
This was the second iteration of this installation, which in both instances responded directly to the space in layout and design. Mercer Union’s version employed a tunnel through which one could pass under the piece itself into a rear room which included drawings and a video projection of Village, silenced. A hallway led off the tunnel mid-way through and allowed the visitor to enter and walk on top of the sonic topography.
Inside the first room of the gallery, aural encounters occurred in two strains. One territorial, via the tessellated ground and the tunnel walls, as much felt as heard; the other aerial, via a sonic beam that occasionally swept the visitor unannounced. Instrumentation of the floor composition is comprised of tank maneuvers, explosions, earthquake frequencies, helicopters and other heavy equipment. These field recordings were filtered, processed and edited together with a variety of sine and sawtooth waves, suggesting the residual infrastructural sounds of military action. Three subwoofers and four buttkickers were installed below the topography upon which the visitor walked and felt the composition. The wandering beam composition is comprised of sirens, trumpets and bagpipes – traditionally declarative instrumentation historically associated with warfare and police states. The instruments were deployed without their traditional melodies, resulting in single notes and drones. This piece was played through an HSS (Hyper Sonic Sound) speaker mounted on a gimbal in the ceiling. This sort of speaker generates a highly directional sound beam that is non-discernable unless the beam is pointed directly at the listener.
For the first iteration of this project, see Tactical Uses of a Belief in the Unseen.
Sonic Compositions: Deborah Stratman & Jen Wang
Sonic Topography: Deborah Stratman, Steven Badgett, Pat Finlay, Jon Sasaki, Sarah Robayo-Sheridan
HSS Gimbal Mount: Ean White, Peter Eng
Catalogue Interview: Adrian Blackwell
"I felt that I could at any minute sink through the surface"
Audio Interview with Lee Henderson, ISN Radio, May 23, 2012
Return to Non-Film Work