a full spectrum sound installation by Frozen Music
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
The Deering Estate
16701 SW 72nd Avenue
Miami, FL 33157
FROZEN MUSIC: PARANORMAL
a proposal-stage description by David Dunn
The project involves the creation of : 1) simultaneous multi-channel recordings of infrasonic, normal and ultrasonic auditory phenomena occurring in a particular locale that combines natural and human (of both current and historical significance) soundscapes; and 2) a presentation of the resultant recorded materials in an experiential, and educational context through a high-resolution performance/exhibition.
The site to be explored:
The Deering Estate
This project is a step towards the potential to study auditory processes that cross the multiple sensory and perceptual boundaries of observers and instrumentation. This may also include phenomena often demarcated as “extra-sensory” or “supernatural.”
Our purpose in pursuing this project is three-fold: 1) to ascertain whether or not such full spectrum acoustic portraits might constitute a viable technique for ecological monitoring through the revelation of emergent patterns of information that are not otherwise perceivable to researchers; 2) to contribute information about how different acoustic domains structurally couple and exchange information; and 3) to create an exhibition that not only represents the results of acoustic research but is also an immersive aesthetic experience that guides us towards the realization of the limitations of our human auditory sense and how that impacts our relationship to the world at large. The project will focus upon the question: what is happening in the world beyond our senses and how might we best pursue a deeper understanding of their complexity?
Methodology and Tools:
The recording process will entail a number of existing field technologies such as digital audio recorders, high-resolution microphones, ultrasonic microphones, geophones, and other specially made acoustic transducers.
Within an appropriate exhibition venue, much of these sounds will be familiar as conventional terrestrial field recordings, but much will also be composed of sounds that occur outside of our normal perceptual capabilities: frequency-shifted infrasonic and ultrasonic audio that might reveal otherwise hidden correlations between auditory phenomena. The overall effect will hopefully help to reveal the profound fabric of sonic phenomena that integrates our world but goes undetected by human observers.
What we mean by Paranormal
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, Arianographix and Art and Science Laboratory of Santa Fe, NM