Multichannel Audiovisual installation - Glacial Till and gravel. 7 prepared infrasound transducers, 5.2 sound system. HD video projection.
A new project under development. Part of the ongoing "Beyond the Audible" Series.
This project is the result of a 6-month Residency grant currently taking place in Switzerland, La Becque 2019. In simple words, Rhone explores the symbiotic relations between water, erosion and sedimentary formation. It does it not only by considering the natural geological processes that have crafted the alpine landscape, but equally exploring man-made technologies that sustain modern cities and industrial constructions.
The project primarily consists of Site-Specific field research, by using sensors, high sensibility hydrophones, and microphones, several sound field recordings were conducted on two precise locations of the Rhone River. We gain a valuable understanding of the activity of both men, natural life and geology over a vast distance in the shape of soundscapes, the recordings tell us about atmospheric events, intangible biological patterns and the ongoing movement of sediments.
The first location is the Rhone Glacier, the birthplace of one of Europe's biggest rivers, this giant Bodie of Ice was the biggest Glacier of the Alps in the last Ice Age, and the main responsible for the geologic formation of Lac Leman and the valley that precedes it. The project follows a less obvious interconnection between the retreating “Rhone Glacier” and “Genetti” - a gravel industrial site that sits on the shores of Rhone River, 130 kilometers after its birth in the Glacier.
Although very distinct entities, both the Glacier and the Factory work in a similar process of eroding and transforming geological sediments. Within the opposition of these two different sites. Structurally the work results in a documental audio-visual installation. One video segment corresponds to each location, constantly dialogging with a kinetic sculpture that uses raw Glacier Till and sonic vibrations.
In the traditional documentary film practice, sound comes as a second layer after the moving image. Within this project that idea is subverted and sound is the conductive and most complex element, whose original individual recordings stretch through multiple locations and time segments. Many different spatial points were used to record the landscape that is presented to us in each frame. By contrary, the video stills are mostly simple and motionless. Their objective is only to contextualize the sound Field Recording. Here, frequencies are the main vectors that move us through the space and its possible scenes.
In the installation, four cubic meters of Glacier till collected directly at the bottom end of the Glacier are disposed in the center of the room. These fine gravel sediments are the result of energy exchange between water and the mountain. The main goal of the installation is not only to directly work with such raw material, but also to represent some inaudible infrasound frequencies that were recorded on site.
Infrasound corresponds to a range of frequency below human hearing capacity. these can be produced both in the movement of the Glacier and in big mechanic industrial complexes that have slow engine turbines. Although such sounds cannot be physically heard by humans, the installation uses transducer speakers that vibrate under these frequencies. Although they emit no direct sounds we can possibly hear, they constantly oscillate the gravel according to the recorded frequencies. Through this constant friction, they physically interact with the Glacier gravel, re-arranging the soil in a kinetic installation. Through the course of the exhibition, the initial disposition of Glacial gravel will constantly change at each loop of the video.
Part I - The Rhone Glacier
46°34'58.4"N 8°22'58.2"E 2420 m altitude.
7hour original recording. Mixed in to 10 minute excerpt. 7 prepared hydrophones. 3 cardioid. 4 omnidirectional. 2 shotgun condenser mics.
The Rhone Glacier moves constantly downwards, exerting mechanical forces on the mountain and the soil beneath. The pressure and weight of the Glacier carves through the stone and is capable of forging dramatic landscapes. Through this erosion process, they leave behind what is known as “Glacier till", a fine sediment so small and light that it can merge in the water, creating the distinctive milky turquoise color of Alpine rivers. Although Glaciers are constantly moving at different velocities, grinding the walls of valleys and mountain ridges, this action is not visually perceptible. Sound becomes again a necessary tool to access those intangible layers. The hydrophones are set directly inside the ice, capturing different melting processes, calving shock-waves and all sorts of geologic movements.
Part II - Genetti industrial factory
46°10'41.1"N 7°13'45.7"E 520 m altitude.
6 hours total recording. 10 minute mix. 5 transducers/hydrophones, 4 condenser microphones. 2 cardioids. 2 DPA.
The unique properties of the Rhone Valley are the direct result of the Glacier's action, the erosion process creating the perfect conditions for Gravel industries like Genetti to operate. The choice to locate directly at the Rhone have to do with the quality of the soil found in the river's bed. With the retreat of the Glacier, important byproducts such as Glacier till and gravel are predominant. The gravel collected here is the main source used for most concrete buildings around Leman lake in cities like Montreux, Vevey, Lausanne, or Geneva. The Rhone Glacier has deeply transformed the landscape we are observing, but also the human cityscapes. The factory starts by collecting sediments directly from the River, using a complex mechanical system of water distribution. Hand in hand, the river, machinery and stone are all essential to process the sediment into fine layers. This work does not intend to be a political critique of the industry; in fact it portraits a unique symbiosis of mechanisms and interdependence between human base technologies and landscape.
First public presentation will take place on 22nd November 2019 at La Becque artist Residency.
More info soon.