The Past Is Present
An interactive Sound Sculpture
Myself and four other artists were commissioned to create a new work related to infrared astronomy for the Observe Exhibition at Art Center College of Design. Thank you to Gilad Lotan who did all the technical integration for this project.
When you walk into the space you first see a large clock, and at the same time, hear a bunch of voices. As you enter the space you realize that each of the hours of the clock are different sizes and different distances away. At some point the viewer notices a glowing light that says "talk to me" on it. When the person bends over to talk to it, a microphone senses the movement and records for five seconds. Their voice is recorded, but not played back for a few seconds. The viewer is at first confused, since nothing happens immediately, but after a few seconds their voice comes out of one of the speakers. After a few more seconds, what they said comes out another speaker. It then comes out in a few minutes, hours, days and even months later. So the room is filled with sounds from different time periods. Some of the sounds are even stretched much like light distorts the older it is.
This work was inspired by the fact that when we look at the stars, we do not see them as they are at this moment, but as they were in the past. Stars are vastly different distances away, and therefore different times away. The light from the closest stars can take four years to get here, while other stars can take millions and even billions of years to reach us. So we really see a sky that is a patchwork of history.