This sculpture generates a three scene narrative with the scene lengths and order controlled by a mechanical randomizing mechanism which is also part of the sculpture. All video and audio switching occurs via mechanical switches.
With this latest work, the Texas-based artist duo breaks new ground in the development of their sophisticated "story-telling machines". Cliff Hanger's narrative is assembled from five separate scene-generating contraptions that output timed segments of a choreographed black and white "movie". The atmosphere of their work is akin to Ansel Adams and Hiroshi Sugimoto photography imbued with early David Lynch film noir.
The creation of these works is a collaborative process between the artists: Shore develops the mechanics and the set-scenes, while Fisher programs the microchips and composes the soundtracks using original compositions, digital audio samples and mechanically operated instruments. The combination of all these elements results in a poetic complexity that is both surreal and cinematic.
SOUND BARRIER is a new work by Maia Urstad, a sound installation consisting of some 130 CD-and cassette radios assembled as a wall. Visually, these devices function as elements in a structure inspired by historical stone constructions
SOUND BARRIER relates to earlier works such as STATIONS; a sound installation deriving its visual basis from the Roman arch; and CLEOPATRA'S NEEDLES; a concert performance inspired by Pharonic Egyptian structures.
The creative impulses for SOUND BARRIER originate in the historical remains of buildings, i.e., ruins. Technology, here, electronics - a development from our own time, comprises the 'stones'.
The CD-and cassette radios in the installation have a double, visual and conceptual function. On an auditory level they are mediating the sound image implemented in the installation. Visually they are the concrete building blocks, the obvious function in the wall, but they also reflects issues related to the technical development and our culture of consumption.
The CD players in the wall are playback units for a composition of electronically treated sounds borrowed from radio waves, Morse code, FM- and satellite radio etc. Sound signals that also will be obsolete and forgotten sooner than we might expect.
Commitment Radio examines radio presets and what it means to make a choice. Instead of using unmarked generic buttons, presets on Commitment Radio create permanent marks. Over time, Commitment Radio will become personalized with your changing musical tastes, political leanings, locations, and age.
The functioning physical prototype of Commitment Radio allows you to scan for stations by moving a dial along the tuning strip. To listen to a station, however, you must push the dial into the radio, leaving an indelible mark.
Over time, Commitment Radio will become personalized with your changing musical tastes, political leanings, locations, and age. Because the radio has a finite amount of space, Commitment Radio encourages deliberateness in your choices and actions.
Jordan Crandall is an artist and media theorist whose work deals with the cultural and political dimensions of new technologies. Between 1991 and 1995 he was the editor of Blast, a multimedia magazine that was initially published in a box format. Blast evolved alongside the popularization of the Internet, and much of its work occurred at the intersection of publishing, digital culture, and the production and distribution of art objects. This spring, Crandall spoke with Triple Canopy about the history of Blast, the nature of the magazine as a form, and the days of accessing bulletin board systems via suitcase-size modems.
Digital Arts and New Media (DANM) Technical Coordinator