FM Paranormal

a full spectrum sound installation by Frozen Music

and the product of an art research residency at
Deering Estate. The installation makes audible
activity recorded in the Richmond Cottage
in full-spectrum audio played back through
three-channels of audio from the third floor
by the Cottage’s staircase

part of the exhibition
an exhibition that considers what makes a house a home. In anticipation of the Stone House centennial in 2022, invited contemporary artists explore the concept of home as a physical, historical, political and spiritual space

Opening: April 17, 2021
On view through June 13, 2021

Richmond Cottage
The Deering Estate
16701 SW 72nd Avenue
Miami, FL 33157

What we mean by Paranormal
Gustavo Matamoros

When we think of “the paranormal,” we tend to refer to the invisible, things that exist in or beyond the periphery of the senses. As humans, we all display different levels of perception depending on the status of our sensory apparatus, which in the course of normal ware and tear it is in a state of constant flux, evolution and/or decay.

In FM, what we mean by “paranormal” is the recording of sound phenomena in full spectrum audio at frequency rates surpassing 20kHz, or the standard threshold of hearing. Add to this the use of transducers that work like microscopes to amplify sounds so faint, they are difficult to detect with our naked ears.

Although we now use computers, in the past we used to store audio in magnetic tape. To be able to listen to sound activity in the ultrasonic range we simply played back the tape at lower speeds. Half the speed of the original recording would lower a 20kHz tone down an octave to 10kHz. A quarter of the speed would lower the tone two octaves to 5,000Hz, and so on.

The sounds heard in our installation Paranormal were recorded at different locations inside the Richmond Cottage but mainly in the areas around the staircase. They are presented in ways that facilitate listening to what happens inside the cottage that we couldn’t hear otherwise. They are also presented in a way designed to bring out aspects of the staircase’s natural acoustic signature. Other areas represented include the hallway closet on the second floor and the children’s dormitory, which were identified to us as particularly active sites.

This Frozen Music project represents the outcome of a Commissioning Artist Residency at Deering Estate; with support from Miami-Dade County Mayor, the Board of County Commissioners and the Cultural Affairs Department; and The Blank Family Foundation. Additional support from Vertical Response, The Estate of Charles Recher, Sennheiser leader in superior sound technology, and Art and Science Laboratory of Santa Fe, NM