Communicating a Pulse
Produced by Victoria Estok (4:16)
Lately my thoughts seem to be of cyclical quality … thoughts and memories circle round like neural-intuitive vultures seemingly leading me to something that is just beyond my view …
This narrative audio piece shares a childhood memory … This work articulates an appreciation of private speech, ritualized behavior, and electronic revelries. Multi-headphone installation. Lingering questions, thoughts, and notes below.
Noise is not the subversive force that we define it as rather it is our minds that are subversive. He claims that the real disruptive force is the way we have conditioned ourselves into believing that we need to categorize sound, compartmentalizing every experience in an attempt to secure a distance between ourselves and what we consider to exist outside of ourselves. – Simon Reyonds.
Thinking back to the pulse of electrical box, I wonder if there is a discernible pattern to the electrical hum, if that does not constitute as language. Nerve Language. Was his view rejected because he articulated his understanding of this ‘language’ through a religious context rather than an aesthetic one?
How is the auditory experience of the electrical box dissimilar to what one might experience a sound installation that utilizes electromagnetic waves?
Example: Christina Kubisch’s Electrical Walks. She designed headphones that reveal electromagnetic activity to the listener. This is how they work: “ Every current in an electrical conductor – for example a wire or a cable – generates an electromagnetic field. These currents can be “musical”, like the signals running through loudspeaker cables; or they can come from electrical activity in the infrastructure of buildings or cities. The magnetic component of these fields is picked up by the sensor coils in the headphones. And after amplification, these signals are made audible by the little speaker systems in the headphones. So if there’s an electromagnetic field (say, an underground cable), the fields pick up each other. The sound jumps through the air from one to the other.” (Cabinet – Cox, (2006) p. 93
Narration: I’ve always been fascinated my electricity – the harnessing of energy. For some reason power lines and electrical boxes always exuded a certain allure. I remember taking long walks when I was young, pausing in front of various electrical boxes and gauges, checking their pulse.
Lately I’ve noticed that my thoughts seem to be of cyclical quality … thoughts and memories circle round like neural- intuitive vultures seemingly leading me toward something that is just beyond my view. (BIKE WHEEL)
A few years later, in this rather intimate community, a young man drew a lot of attention to himself. He too, was drawn to the electrical boxes that were scattered around the town’s perimeter. He would sit quietly for hours directly in front of one particular electrical box that was located on the side of a rather trafficked highway.
Like in most small towns certain individuals are transformed by a strange melding of otherness and something that is more identifiable. In his case, rumor has it that while he was doing some field work in the Amazon, he was bite by some exotic insect and fell very ill. He developed a fever that had devoured his nervous system and prevented him from returning to his research. There was also speculation – most likely because he was of a certain generation that an over indulgence in psychedelics was to blame … other said he was just an ordinary schizophrenic.
All I knew was that most days, I would walk past him, seemingly without detection. It became somewhat of an obsession for me. He was ALWAYS there. I just couldn’t tell if he was as aware of my presence as I was of his … either way we continued this ritual for months. I would walk closer sometimes even managing to mouth a quiet hello and he sit with his back to me without uttering a word.
Last week of August stands out. After waking up restless, I decided to walk off my tension. Going a different route – a worn lime green booklet caught my eye. In thin but bold letters the title read: Overcoming Nervousness. Wet and fragile, I wiped off the morning dew. Finding this seemed to only increase this sense of urgency I was in the grips of that morning. Flipping through to the only highlighted passage: Now there is nothing worse to feel remote in your heart from the things that have to do with your head. I closed the booklet – I could see the electrical box peering over the horizon and then I could see him.
As I approached – he looked me directly in the eye. He seemed to be able to sense my own electrical fascination – an interest that I kept to myself at that time. Without words he took my hand – I could feel the power emanating from the electrical box. Wordlessly he assured me, that if I concentrated, I would be able to detect the patterns in the electrical current and eventually decipher its message. Direct communication was discernable through this box. He implied that the surging of energy was a type of communion with universe … and this was one of the ways it communicated its pulse.