Evidence at Wave Farm

Sep 22, 2007 4:15 am

From Vonn New:
Last night (Sept. 19, 2007), I was invited to participate in a work-in-progress, "Channel Surfing" by the duo Evidence. Scott Smallwood and Stephan Moore, a/k/a Evidence, were finishing a week-long residency at the Wave Farm, a project of free103point9, transmission arts non-profit group.

This work made use of a series of FM broadcast signals of various low powers, a pile of assorted boom boxes, the 30-acre spread of the Wave Farm, and the natural curiosity and playfulness of about 10 participants.

When I arrived at the Wave Farm on this crisp, star-lit September evening, Stephan handed me an instruction sheet that included this: "Tonight, we are broadcasting sounds on several frequencies, which have been designed to be played simultaneously. Your participation completes the composition, as you mix and manipulate adjacent radio signals using the radio tuning dial, as well as your physical position and proximity to your radio's antenna. Each radio has a different character, and the air itself has a signal topology, which is yours to explore. A wide palate of textures, interferences, and interactions between the existing signals can be created through small adjustments of any of these controls, and we encourage you to experiment with this behavior."

The 85-minute piece gave me ample time to explore two modes of interaction. The first was highly active: fiddling with the tuning dial, playing with the antenna, walking around and exploring the edges of the low-power attenuation of the signals. The interplay of static and overlapping signals made a rich sound field. The second was less active. I tuned my radio to something interesting and set it down and then, using only my ears, wandered around the property listening to the sound field... or I sat still and listened while other participants wandered around me. At one point, Diana Slattery and I walked to the parking lot and tuned in the radio in my van.

Skot and Stephan made many recordings from field recording instruments and from the cassette decks in the boom boxes and will mix and process the materials into a future piece. I'll be sure to post a link when they have something for you to hear.