We are constantly barraged with the chaos of the airwaves but since we cannot see how much of invisible space has already been cut up and sold, or how much much din we ourselves are accountable for, we are only made aware of it when tuning into the radio, television or mobile phones. But then there are microwaves, satellite pings, deep space communications, psychic interference, juggernaughts and badly tuned souped-up boom boxes on wheels and all the other traffic that adds up to the cacophony of the everyday landscape. At some point in my life, I remember bodies being set up to tackle noise pollution but where are they now? Certainly not standing next to Southwark Bridge measuring the rumble of the trains and the engines of the tug boats, and not in Backspace policing the sound bouncing off the walls.
So I have built a piece that utilizes a tried and tested method for remote aural surveillance first used by the CIA . Using the window in backspace that faces directly onto the River Thames, sound is measured and split: into a visual LED meter and to a broadcast over the internet using real audio. Ideally I would like you to listen to this sound as you travel, perhaps letting it be your soundtrack, or maybe a memorial to the soundless vacuum of outerspace in which you may sometimes find yourself whilst surfing.
'Psychic Rumble' is the first work within in a series of works titled 'We & They.' It symbolises the need for field experiementation, and luckily Backspace is THAT kind of organisation that allows for experiment in the art work. Later this year, a modified version will be positioned in the departure lounge of an international airport, engaging passengers in transit whilst allowing them to be heard as never before.
The current specifications follow. If you have any ideas for development please do not hesitate to email me. The spy shops that sell the equipment at alarming prices are being preciciously quiet and as yet I have made no inroads with them.
An experimental microphone designed to be attached to a window. The microphone uses the window to extend its drum and thus its field of sound pick-up. Windows naturally shake from atmospheric movement such as wind, heavy transport passing in the street or low sound. Rumble is thus amplified and the resulting signal is made up of the sound on the inside of the window and the tremors outside.
The circuit incorporates a PZM microphone, electronics kits for a pre-amp and pre-pre-amp, and an LED VU meter powered by a 9v power supply. The sound signal is also split to a line out to minijack to a PowerPC. This work also has two additional circuits for aesthetic reasons: a flashing line of blue LEDs on a handmade circuit and a pair of mini-fluorescent lights on a transformer circuit. The former two use a 9 volt power supply and the latter a 12 volt power supply. The PZM measures about 15cm x 13cm and is attached to a window using duct tape.