It has been far too long since I have chronicled work here, so I am going to try to catch up a little. For this post I am writing about a recent installation titled (rust)Echoes in 914Works, a multi-use space here in Syracuse. Apologies in advance for the length of this post, there is a lot to cover.
This was my third spatial installation, and in many ways it was an opposite to the Rust O Phone in that it was in an interior space as opposed to a park. The considerations are different, and the instruments inhabit the space in a very different way. It is much more possible to have a direct influence on the viewer's experience of the instruments and the space, and to focus their attention.As a part of this I collaborated with a theatrical director, Katherine McGerr, who devised a piece with five Syracuse University Drama students that was also presented in the space.
This installation was comprised of five separate instruments that were visually and conceptually linked. I'll address each of them individually below, but overall they addressed sounds that evoke to me the trains that once rolled through this part of Central New York. The train system in this country was massive and powerful at one time, and the web of timber and steel wove this country together in a way that was very different from the Interstate Highway system we now have. It was a real loss when that system was dismantled, and i wanted to both celebrate its time and mourn its passing.
Instrument 1: The Spikelophone
This instrument is a xylophone made of railroad spikes. It is related to the next instrument in that it celebrates the sound of a prosaic object that is an accidental percussion instrument. Spikes are made to be struck, and the noise of a rail gang sinking these spikes is actually quite musical, if you have a group that can really do it. In the course of using the installation, we also discovered that the wooden panels to the right of the Spikelophone have their own sounds and are a secondary instrument.
Instrument 2: Nailing Stump
|The Nailing Stump|
Instrument 3: Intonatruss
Instrument 4: Gong Rack
Instrument 5: Piano
|Fireman's Post / Piano|
Here is a video shot by Daylight Blue Media of a piece that was composed by one of may favorite collaborators: Leo Crandall.