feldstimmen

Installation views at Metronom, Barcelona, Spain (May, 2003). Mixed media, custom electronics, sound (dimensions variable).



Feldstimmen is an installation in which speakers are set atop a number of vertical flexible poles that stand about two meters tall. The poles have a fixed base and shudder intermittently, producing an unsteady wobbling of both the pole and the speaker. The sounds heard are a combination of long tones and speech-like sounds. The long tones change gradually over time and allow various subtle components of the tones to emerge and recede. These create a slowly undulating sound field that while generally quiet has a strong and tactile physical presence. The speech-like sounds (no clearly recognizable speech or text is heard, but these sounds have the contours of spoken language) form a kind of punctuation for these longer tones and allude to a human-like presence floating among them.

 

Looking like a set of oversized flowers or a group of human figures, Feldstimmen creates an inviting yet uncertain presence, one that allows extended listening but reveals little specific information. The title is an invented German word that translates literally as "Field Tuning," or "Field Voices," as stimmen refers both to voices as well as the process of tuning a musical instrument. Here the notion of voices coalescing hovers in the presence of the piece but is never made explicit, and the title, like the piece itself, remains ambiguous as to its further possible meanings.