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Smedaholmen Tourist (with Amplifiers) - 2012

Sound work and performance in collaboration with Eric Chenaux

Materials: amplifier buoys (battery powered guitar amplifiers, Pelikan cases, wood, rubber, aluminum and steel, miscellaneous hardware, floatation foam, wireless audio receivers), 4 inch speaker and amplifier (swinging speaker), wireless transmitters, bowed guitar, pre-recorded sound

Dimensions: variable

Photo credit: Juuso Noronkoski

Commissioned by Five Thousand Generation of Birds (Fitjar, Norway)

Five Thousand Generations of birds” was an exhibition located in the archipelago of Fitjar on the West coast of Norway, a landscape consisting of 381 islands, isles and reefs.  

Each participating artist was given an island to produce a temporary and site specific work. Smedaholmen Tourist (with Amplifiers) was located on the main exhibition island, Smedholmen, where viewers could approach the work by foot or by water. Three guitar amplifiers were rebuilt in order to function as ocean buoys and Eric and I used them to perform as tourists in this extraordinary landscape. Tourism is defined as the practice of traveling for recreation and therefore suggests a superficial engagement with a place. Is a superficial engagement attention to surface only? If surfaces can reflect, shift and change, compel a stare, even offer a psychedelic experience, what about sound?

The sound for Smedaholmen Tourist (with Amplifiers) consisted of organ-like chords, bowed guitar (an electric guitar bowed with a small violin bow), and a small spun speaker. The harmonic material for the organ-like chords (guitar chords through a guitar pedal that sounds like a cheap organ) are generated from a number of Norwegian Hardinger fiddle tunings, using only the notes from the sympathetic or resonant strings that form the chords. These chords, a total of six different pre-recorded tunings, were heard out of the right and left buoys as a stereo sound. The bowed guitar was amplified by the middle buoy and by the swinging-speaker. Swinging a speaker on a short cable creates an effect similar to a Leslie speaker’s use of the Doppler effect (the swinging-speaker was four inches in diameter and was powered by a small guitar amp).

See also: The Instrument Project, Soundball: Dancehauling, Marla Hlady and The Tristanos


Exhibition History:
2012 FTG of Birds (Fitjar, Norway)