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Conclusions: Pandemonium, Radical Proximity and Protest
Pandemonium cannot be recovered through photographs, audio recordings, or even videos because it was not, as Motte-Haber wrote of sound art, “zum Hören und zum Sehen bestimmt”—not only meant to be heard and seen that is, but also meant for the percipient to feel, to touch, and be moved by. It afforded an intense, somatic experience. Like Christoph Cox’s characterization of the most significant sound artworks of the past five decades, Pandemonium was:“. . . [an exploration] of the materiality of sound: its texture and temporal flow, its palpable effect on, and affection by the materials through and against which it [was] transmitted.” In Don Ihde’s phenomenology of sound, the percipient apprehends space by listening within it. Hearing one object in Eastern State Penitentiary’s cells strike another object revealed the shapes of both, their textures and compositions, the incidents of their surfaces, the hollow or solid characters of their interiors.  Their sounds made the space around them tangible and alive.  These sounds were concretely of the cellblock, so proximate as to be indistinguishable from that environment, which they revealed to be vibrant and effervescent, iterative and in process, rather than some pile of mute and static artifacts.Sound scanned the cellblock and penetrated its contents, including human percipients. As Jim Drobnick puts it:“. . . the act of listening . . . inevitably invokes corporeality, it envelops listeners, and . . . it resounds within the body.” Pandemonium’s sounds entered the body surreptitiously as tactile vibrations at the low end of the audible spectrum, so much so that during a rumbling glissando Eastern State Penitentiary public programming director Sean Kelley asked himself, “Is this safe?”  Similar to the way Cardiff’s walks produce virtual proximity with the artist’s body, Pandemonium nurtured proximity between the percipient’s body and the environment of cellblock seven itself. It was an experience of radical closeness, not merely ‘near’ documentary but evidence of being thoroughly enmeshed. Pandemonium invited the percipient’s body to become the medium by which to experience Eastern State Penitentiary—“waking the dead” of real, traumas that “lie beyond the inscriptible.”  It drew its evidence from the site’s materiality, testing the theory of memory proposed by mathematician and philosopher Charles Babbage (1791–1871) in his 1837 Ninth Bridgewater Treatise:The air itself is one vast library, on whose pages are for ever written all that man has ever said or woman whispered . . . perpetuating in the united movements of each particle, the testimony of man’s changeful will. Pandemonium’s treble and bass beaters, like the high and low sounds of Cage’s life systems in the anechoic chamber, sounded matter’s refusal to give up moving and interacting. Pandemonium documented the inevitable failure of an effort like Eastern State Penitentiary to conform a sentient body to an abstract system that denies its sensuality and irreducible interdependence with the world.Pandemonium did not limit this act of memory to the Philadelphia System’s extraordinary years of silence and isolation. Like Words Drawn in Water, Pandemonium argued for a synchronic model of history, in which “. . . threads of time collide, cross and intertwine, looping back on themselves.”  Its programmatic narrative ushered the listener through 1960s riots and 1970s closure then neglect. Its noise-makers were nineteenth-century bedframes, twentieth-century toilets, and, to dramatic effect, Cold War-era steel drums. Its electronic actuator (MIDI system, cords, and solenoids) injected the piece with a dystopian science fiction aesthetic that nodded also to the future. At the same time, Pandemonium referenced its own, twenty-first-century noise culture. Its dance passages invoked the relentless, percussive techno that originated in Detroit around 1988 and warped its way through rave culture of the 1990s.  Berlin had become a world center for techno as it was for sound art, presenting days-long dance parties in massive, industrial buildings scaled similarly to cellblock seven (Fig. 29). At the same time, Cardiff and Miller include Pandemonium in a suite of works - Feedback (2004), The Killing Machine (2007) (video clip), and The Murder of Crows (2008) (video clip) - with which they tried to respond to their experiences of reality during the presidency of George W. Bush (2001–2009).  While they were conceptualizing Pandemonium, the United States military began its “shock-and-awe” campaign in Iraq. Images of torture at Abu Ghraib circulated in the news media. Reports emerged, just after Pandemonium opened, of the Israeli air force deploying “sound bombs” in the Gaza Strip. 
Pandemonium loaned shared space to this full range of noisy associations, signifying fear and pleasure, magnetizing arousal and violent aggression, ruthless domination and raucous insubordination, spiraling chaos and systematic discipline. It heightened percipients’ awareness of their own sentient bodies in relation to a panopticon, symbol par excellence of the body’s modern subjugation.  It affirmed the body’s defiant relationality, its sensual, ecological interdependence and filled the space with audible allusions to reality’s conflicted forces. It seemed to suggest that the history of Eastern State Penitentiary was neither remote nor resolved and delineated no single future for sensory relations. Inducing a charged, physical state, it invited the percipient to reflect, perhaps even to act, on her capacity to feel and to congregate. It made a compelling case that our bodies remained as entangled with systems of power in 2005 as they were in 1829 and that this condition could elicit, then as now, a spiraling array of potential responses. To make its case, Pandemonium harnessed sonic force, propelled by an onslaught of references to the defiantly meaningful and affective noises used both from the outside in to regiment bodies and from the inside out to motivate their transgression of systems that would deny their sensual interdependence. Pandemonium took an unequivocal stand against false claims that sounding bodies could be fixed, noises neutralized. Whether it spurred so active and pointed a corporeal meditation depended on the individual but, for all who witnessed it, Pandemonium droned on, loop after loop, sounding its ecstatic protest.
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Pandemonium performed a veritable hit parade of these representational strategies. Its episodic structure imitates programme music with allusive sounds that tell a riotous ghost story. At the same time, Pandemonium’s emphatic preference for the percussive and textural over the melodic and harmonic infuses the composition with noise that is obstinately musical. Following Russolo, Miller scaled percussive beats by relative pitch and built a mechanical instrument to administer their transmission. Pandemonium’s rumbling call-and-response politics evoked Rainey and Smith’s blues. Its all-percussion ensemble, textured with two dramatic glissandi, invoked Varèse, and its PianoDisc MIDI system referenced Antheil’s switchboards. Charged silences drew on Cage’s “all sound,” and a violent crescendo mimicked transgressive tactics from Debussy to Higgins to Hendrix to punk. Pandemonium’s found instruments referenced musique concrète and industrial noise rock’s counter-cultural salvage ethos.  Paradoxical for so acoustic a performance, Pandemonium’s pervasive sampling and MIDI control system managed to riff on electronic music as well.Along with these noise-music tactics, Pandemonium appropriated their range of meaningful, affective propositions, from military-inflected violence to joyful congregation. After all, music fails to absorb noise absolutely into some abstract system that would evacuate its worldly, corporeal qualities. Even alongside its musical meanings, sound signifies dynamic process, iterative perceptual experiences, and variegation of movement. Sound propels ecstatic collectivity, violent threat, and their interface in the mobilized, rhythmic body, positing a generalized protest against systems that would use the body against itself, channeling its force in a way that would neutralize this expansive capacity for sensorial experience.  Militaristic imagery accompanied noise music from Italian futurism’s “poetics of shell shock . . . and war machines” to Afrofuturism’s “guerrilla . . . warrior-clans.”  So too has sound all along excited rhythmic sensual dance, magnetizing bodies and collectivizing their sensations.  These two interwoven themes of rave and riot, and their mutually entangled affects of arousal and aggression, rage and joy, infuse Pandemonium with “sonic force” as theorized by music theorist and producer Steve Goodman in his 2012 book Sonic Warfare: Sound, Affect, and the Ecology of Fear.With sonic force, a concept Goodman adopts from the Black Audio Film Collective, Goodman demonstrates sound to be inseparable from its somatic functions. Sonic force denotes the ways in which sound is:. . . both seductive and violent, abstract and physical . . . a phenomenon . . . [with] power to caress the skin, to immerse, to sooth, beckon, and heal, to modulate brain waves and massage the release of certain hormones within the body. Sonic force represents a continuum of sound’s potential, exceeding the boundaries of human hearing. At one pole, sound is deployed for “. . . the strategic aim of crowd dispersal, to the dissipation of a collective energy, to repulsion and dissolution of clusters, and to the individualization of the movement of bodies,” echoing Eastern State Penitentiary’s founding mission.  At the other pole, sound’s “objective is that of intensification, to the heightening of collective sensation, an attractive, almost magnetic, or vertical force, a force that sucks bodies in toward its source.” 
Rather than elevating one sonic trajectory over the other, Pandemonium spins them together as if spiraling threads along a single, curving amplitude—from sub-audible vibration to immersive eruption. Pandemonium’s looping repetitions are both semantic representations and concrete materializations of sonic force as matter’s roiling potential. In figuring this full spectrum, Pandemonium made one unequivocal statement against stilling the body. Pandemonium exposed as false those powers that would claim to discipline away the body's sensory relationships with a world that is ever in process.