we014
John Kannenberg
Oculus


Oculus investigates the acoustic properties of visual art display mechanisms, combining field recordings and synthesized sound. Beginning as a series of field recordings made in museums and galleries during the summer of 2009, this audio collection coalesced into a fascinating document of sounds that are often ignored or considered superfluous. Can visual information be described by the sound of its display? Are these sounds and their corresponding images mutually exclusive, or symbiotic? What happens when the background is separated from the foreground - does it merely leave a gaping hole, or create a new object with its own relationships and contexts to explore?


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we014 - John Kannenberg - Oculus (49.7 MB)


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Track 01 - Overture (9.25MB)
A statement of the primary source material and themes appearing in the tracks that follow, the Overture begins with a manipulation of the recording of the electromagnetic field generated by an analog television monitor from track 5, then goes on to present four untreated field recordings mixed with synthesized sound derived from the material in track 3. The field recordings are, in order: a slide projector in the Michael Snow room, Art Gallery of Ontario; film projectors in an installation by Wolfgang Plöger, Art Institute of Chicago; television picture tubes in an installation by Iain Baxter&, Art Gallery of Ontario; and a video projector from an installation by Immony Men, Art Gallery of Windsor.



Track 02 - Film Projection (10.6MB)
A combination of two field recordings bookending a digitally processed drone composition using the field recordings as its source material. In order: Film projector in a Henrik Hĺkansson installation at The Power Plant Gallery, Toronto; film projector showing Laszlo Moholy-Nagy's “Lichtspiel Schwarz-Weiß-Grau” with audience applause, Paradiso, Amsterdam.



Track 03 - 24bps (4.26MB)
The only purely synthesized piece in the collection, 24bps is a series of tones played at the rate of 24 beats per second, analogous to the 24 frames per second standard of traditional film projection - a bridging of analog and digital sonic worlds.



Track 04 - Slideshow (9.18MB)
A synthesized drone created using analog synthesis techniques permeates the track, a tone whose aesthetics echo a time when slide projectors were the de facto standard for still image display in the art world. Processed samples of the slide projector from the Michael Snow field recording in the Overture are placed 27.2 seconds apart - the mean time of how long the average visitor spent looking at a piece of art during a 2001 study at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Mixed in at low volume is a field recording of visitors in the Masterpieces show on display at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. In combination, an impossible sound world based on a scientific fact.



Track 05 - Television Monitor (9.32MB)
Using an analog television monitor as the source material, this piece begins with drones created by manipulating the speed of a recording of the electromagnetic field of a television. The recording shifts to an untreated version of the recording of the powering up of the monitor, then eventually shifts to a heavily processed version of the Iain Baxter & recording from the Overture, stripping away much of the low end to focus on the high-pitched buzz and whine of the multiple picture tubes.



Track 06 - Video Projection (10.3MB)
This track focuses on the sound of video projection systems and includes a processed recording of the audience watching a video projection installation by HC Gilje at NIMk in Amsterdam, processed recordings of the electromagnetic field of a video projector in my studio, and the sound of a video projector in use at the Art Gallery of Windsor, Ontario. The electromagnetic projector recordings here have been processed using convolution, applying the acoustic space of the Windsor video projector recording to drastically alter their original timbre and place them in a non-existent, non-idealized sonic space.






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