Then Ether (2007, 2011)
Responsive Light and sound environment
Speakers, lights, microphones, custom electronics, custom programming
Then Ether is a responsive multi-channel sound and light environment about memory, the loss of it, and the inconsistent ability to access it. Then Ether collects sound “memories” from inside its space, and it’s immediate exterior space, by sensing activity. It plays these sound clips within the larger installation space. Sound files play shortly after they are recorded, so that viewers are able to hear themselves within the installation. The file then slips into a database, playing back randomly over time. At times, the installation space is relatively calm and quiet. At other times, the space swells with sound, triggering many “memories” (sound files) at one time, creating a mild cacophony that will exist within it’s walls. This is symbolic to the haphazard and random nature of memory, as well as the questionability of being able to access it.
The sound is constantly refreshing, to include the most recent memories, combined with sporadic instances and sporadic swarms, of distant memories. These distant memories are broken- playing at random points within the file, rarely playing from the beginning to the end, which fractures their instance and their identity. Re-introducing the most recent past with the late past, elongates and collapsing each viewer’s sense of time while orienting them comparatively in the lifespan of the installation. The viewer is not merely the center of the piece as it runs, but slowly becomes part of the fabric of its existence in the space; long after their body is absent. They have an ongoing effect in the space, but not an on-going control.
The doorbell is an opportunity for viewers to directly interact with the piece. The pressing of the doorbell triggers a deluge of memories. Memories will flood back through all the sound channels in rounds. Sometimes these rounds will have greater periods between them, and sometimes the deluge will have more rounds than others.
The durational nature of this installation enlarges the installation space by expanding and abounding upon the notion of time and presence of the viewer, going beyond their physical bodies. This installation freezes moments, and allows viewers to continually enter the space, long after their bodies are gone.