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Sonic booms by Ezra Masch and Alex Braidwood at Tiger Strikes Asteroid

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July 18, 2013   ·   0 Comments

Reflected, projected light scintillates on the projection screen.

—>Chip gets an earful at Tiger Strikes Asteroid in a sonic piece by two artists. —the artblog editors———————->

Two artists – Ezra Masch and Alex Braidwood – are in the midst of an installation at Tiger Strikes Asteroid that is more of a sensory experience than a concrete concept or physical artwork. Entitled “End Transmission,” the project harnesses the phenomenon of noise beyond just its auditory qualities, although there is certainly a surplus of sound. In fact, reverberations shudder down the hallway outside of the Tiger space, priming unwitting visitors with vibrations before they even set foot inside.

The back of the speaker setup with the projection screen peeking out from behind.

The back of the speaker setup with the projection screen peeking out from behind.

Having recently collaborated in the windy Midwest as part of a two week residency in Grinnell, Iowa, the artist pair decided to further their work with a more complete, four-channel version of their initial experiments. Influenced by the wind and air pressure changes that stem from jet engines, helicopter rotors and the like, the physical action of air pressure change is translated from the original source into a series of speakers. Although these recordings are copies of the original sounds, the amplification systems mimic the properties of the engines and gusts, presenting an ideal way to accurately recreate these sounds without actually hauling in a jet engine (or killing patrons for that matter).

Reflective Mylar attached in front of the speakers.

Reflective Mylar attached in front of the speakers.

The setup for “End Transmission” consists of a wall of speakers and audio equipment programmed to play multiple long tracks of the aforementioned recordings on a loop. The vibrations make their way through a sheet of reflective Mylar affixed to the structure holding the speakers, which in turn shakes and shimmers along with the amplified sounds. On the other side of the Mylar, pointing back towards the construction, is a projector that bathes the shimmering surface in bright blue light. As a result, the screen hanging just above the projects is covered with rippling patterns representative of the noises that flood the space.

Reflected, projected light scintillates on the projection screen.

Reflected, projected light scintillates on the projection screen.

This improvised, real time visualization appears very much like the patterns reflected by the rippling surfaces of lakes or pools. Of course, being submerged in a sea of sound and wildly fluctuating air currents is quite akin to the effects of turbulent water and as a result, those inside the space become very conscious of the states of matter affected on a molecular level by this wall of noise (solid, gas, and the perception of liquid). An installation of this sort is most immediately concerned with sound and the fractal images it produces, but with a rather bold subtext, it also delves into the molecular structure around us all. Though these particles are sometimes obscure or incomprehensible from our human scale, they are perceptible in subtle and interesting ways through many of our daily activities, including when we blast a car horn, listen to music, or knock on a door.

Ezra Masch and Alex Braidwood’s “End Transmission” offers an alternative to the way we most often experience sound: by listening. Here, the audible noises become peripheral concerns next to the felt sensations and visual stimulation provided by these boisterous fluctuations. The building’s other tenants no doubt remain acutely aware of the persistent grumbling emanating from Tiger Strikes Asteroid.

“End Transmission” will be on display through July 28.

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