When I was little I used to listen to an old walkie talkie I had found in the garage, bringing it into the house and curled up in the dark, I would turn the dial, tuning in and out of frequencies, in and out of other peoples lives, listening and piecing together the fragments like patchworking a giant sonic quilt, embroidered with my own perceptions of my neighbors. I wove together stories that lived on other ends of the dial into a new narrative. This is the narrative I’m always looking for- my sea of stories, the fragments woven into a stream that I can trickle through my fingers until it pools into an ocean and laps at my feet.
Now I walk labyrinths. Giant circles, into a swirling vortex of calm, catching sounds as I walk round and round and round, catching my own fragmentary thoughts, intermingled with the sound of the birds and crunching of stones underfoot and the soft padding of the long grass, until I can weave my thoughts into a coherent fabric, and narrative.
Today I walked an exhibition Sonic Arcade at The Museum of Art and Design in NYC, and it took me back to getting out my dad’s old walkie talkie, as I gamely checked out an old transmitter radio from the front desk and walked around the museum trying to pick up noises and sounds on my prescribed bandwidth, as part of art exhibit by Anna Fritz.
Sadly, the radio’s didn’t pick up any coherent sounds on the frequency I was told to listen to, and none of the museums volunteers could point me towards a beacon/transmitter, each insisting there one was on the other floor of the exhibition. Despite the lovely fictional backstory as to how the beacons were found, communication completely failed as to how to access the story, and all the hard work the artist had put into the piece.
And so I scanned in the (figurative) dark, picked up fragments of jazz and whispers of static, while maybe whole stories played on other frequencies that I couldn’t hear, and instead swung on swings in the polymorphic playground and played with consoles that made fun sounds at the touch of my fingertips- some of them looking quite like my labyrinths.
“Subject to Gesture” by Robert Aikia Aubrey Lowe
“The Polyphonic Playground” by Studio PSK
“Echophone” by Anna Friz
Format 3 by Foo:Skou interactive wood sculpture, that creates sounds as touched.