Doctor Enters Hall, Hall Speaks, Doctor/Waiting Room Listens
For my final assignment in Art of Sound and Noise I elaborated on my minor assignment titled ‘If Only These Floors Could Talk’. In this attempt I took the notion of giving a wooden box the artifice of a voice through percussive black leather shoes and followed through a step further to examine the sounds of a building, in this instance the SCA Auditorium. I wanted the hall to speak this time. I wanted to hear the body of the wood. To manifest this approach I followed a somewhat kitsch route and used two stethoscopes which were hokey but real and mounted contact microphones to the back of their diaphragms. The now at once electric stethoscopes were placed on either side of the hall. Leads were ran back from the stethoscopes in to a mixer to the side of the stage. I installed mics on the underside of a set of treads which also ran back to the mixer. From the mixer’s output a lead was hooked up to a series of guitar pedals at my ‘work station.’ From the pedals the signal was then sent to a VOX AC30 I had perched in the shakespearean pier on stage right.
Audience members who in a way acted as past patients in communion, were asked to walk up the treads to which there were the original black shoes at the top, they then followed a dotted line around myself sat on a couch before my workstation where I manipulated the sound of their footsteps. The dotted line allowed for the percussion made on the stairs to remain consistent. I had one contact mic on the boundary of the route which picked up some periphery percussions too. All the while this order was taking place those who volunteered to harness the stethoscopes sounded out the sides of the hall which produced an overbearing scratching noise which hissed and hovered over the proceeding. I wanted to create a world within a world with this performative installation. I believe I achieved my goal in creating a loud overwhelming abstracted atmosphere. The audience was heavily involved which I liked, I didn’t want spectators and if I did, I wanted their inclusion in the examination of the auditorium. My position was to give the real sounds made by the audience triggering signals on the contact mics, a language which in my hope gave the architecture of the auditorium a voice. The angelic light beaming through the holy lead light windows helped in creating what I wanted in a somewhat holistic and dark experience. I believe this work spoke to history, perceptions of architecture, the uncanny, nostalgia and madness.