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Pandemonium began for its percipients in a peripatetic confrontation with Eastern State Penitentiary. Located in Philadelphia’s downtown Cherry Hill neighborhood, the site was an operational prison from 1829 through 1971 then abandoned and reopened as a prison museum in 1994.  Its eleven acres are enclosed by imposing perimeter walls.  The penitentiary faces Fairmont Avenue, a broad east-west thoroughfare that turns to parkway half a mile due west along the Schuylkill River, where it winds past two other stalwarts in Philadelphia’s modernizing city infrastructure—the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Fairmont Water Works. One enters the penitentiary at its formidable south wall, a “severe and ordered” surface, 30-feet high and built of “long, very carefully jointed and coursed stone.”  Massive scale and medieval-inspired details like crenelated turrets suggest both fortress and ecclesiastical complex, “[injecting] notes of the heroic and sublime” consonant with its Romantic period conception. Within the walls, 15 cellblocks, constructed piecemeal between 1822 and 1959, reveal themselves gradually. From the prison yard, the visitor enters the outer limit of a cellblock and traverses its length to a large octagonal space. Here the penitentiary’s radial plan becomes suddenly clear. Cellblocks extend from this central observation room, like spokes on a wheel. Free of partitions, the hub provides sightlines down the central axes of seven cellblocks original to architect John Haviland’s (1792–1852) plan. Haviland conceived this design to promote, “watching, convenience, economy, and ventilation,” for the purpose of administering an especially hygienic panopticon.  Cellblock seven, where Pandemonium held court, is the last built under Haviland’s supervision in 1836 and, “arguably the most visually dramatic block at Eastern State Penitentiary.” Barrel-vaulted like a cathedral, cellblock seven is 356 feet long, 30 feet high, and crowned by three colossal skylights. 131 cells flank a central aisle at ground level and in recessed upper galleries. According to Cardiff, the artists chose this space for its “high arched ceilings, two storeys of cells and beautiful skylights.”  Cells repeat one after another in parallel rows, facing across an aisle. Narrow, rectilinear doorframes echo the orderly balusters of upper gallery railings. A balcony stretches between second-story catwalks, its sweeping vista culminating in a rounded, vertical window above the outer door, a luminous recapitulation of the cellblock’s overall form. The block appears perfectly symmetrical, partitioned into equal, isolated units much as the individual person within was to be smoothed and reformed body and mind to the civic ensemble. Order now crumbles at the level of the unit, however; inside, each cell is a picture of material disintegration.Being in the space is only obliquely suggestive of prisoners’ experiences. The site instead provides a visual record of ways in which history folds in on itself. The air is cool and damp, stilled by the museum’s conventional hush made yet more solemn by the subject of incarceration. When operations were suspended in 1971, Eastern State Penitentiary was left to decay until the late 1980s.  Its selective restoration as a “stabilized ruin”—a curious, late-twentieth-century adaptation of a Romantic conceit—rendered it accessible for tours in 1994.  Now layers of paint peel and plaster flakes from walls. Dust and odd remnants of furniture co-mingle in the cells, left over from multiple periods in the site’s 142 years as a dwelling. Cells are left in disrepair or selectively restored to approximate appearances at certain decades. Didactic wall panels mediate the visitor’s interpretation, as does “The Voices of Eastern State” audio tour, included in admission, with its blend of documentary detail and sensational information about celebrity inmates and the site’s use as a film set. 
Visitors more than likely heard Pandemonium before reaching cellblock seven.  Parts of the composition are terribly loud.  One might enter the corridor at any point in the sixteen-minute loop, beckoned by its sounds or following a tour route. How to attend, from which vantage and for how long, were decisions largely up to the individual. One person might stand transfixed through multiple cycles, at the entrance to the block or deep within the space. Another might wander up and down the cellblock for one full cycle, turn immediately to leave, or come and go freely, listening at a slight remove. The visual effect of the cellblock is so powerfully stunning, moreover, that taking it in may have, at first, overwhelmed efforts to listen. Pandemonium involved not only listening and looking but also moving the body and feeling vibrations of sound pass from the ground through the feet and through the air to one’s skin and hairs. These many simultaneous modes of sensing the artwork would have been impossible fully to disentangle even when they conveyed conflicting information.
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Recovering Pandemonium II
The central trigger for this multisensory experience was music pulsating in the space. On the extant recording, Pandemonium’s compositional structure sounds deliberately untidy and ambiguous.  It progresses sequentially, indeed musically, with repeated, contrapuntal themes that build to a unified climax, but it also intermingles ambient noises to such a degree that the percipient wonders at moments if her ears might be tricking her into making sense of unintended soundings. Pandemonium begins with bass objects tapped in call-and-response patterns up and down the distance of the corridor (Track 1A 00:09–1:03) followed by a similar conversation between treble things (Track 1B 1:04–1:39). This code-like rapping becomes a pulse for the piece, taking up residence in other themes and resurging between later passages. Next, taps diffuse into environmental noises that only tentatively suggest settling foundations, clinking wind chimes, or rattling steam radiators (Track 1C 1:40–2:22). These aimless, abstract sounds, so at home in a stabilized ruin as to seem meaningless, pervade the composition as much as the tapping, returning repeatedly to temper its associative power.
Soon, these two modes blend. Sounds seem at one moment random and the next urgently significant (Track 1D 2:23–3:20). This urgency takes firm, narrative hold for a minute as bass objects crack like gun shots and mount to an alarming volume in the company of rattling treble, but it diffuses just as suddenly when they die off (Track 1E 3:21–4:15). After a few seconds of near-quiet, a double beat of bass drums advances. It reaches a pace like an adrenaline-fueled heartbeat and then ceases (Track 1F 4:16–5:25). An indeterminate, open period follows. Muffled stretches bring to the fore sounds of pigeons flying in and out of the ruin, but a moment later the corridor fills again with indomitable tapping (Track 1G 5:26–6:20). Discrete, repetitive knocks morph gradually into more grooving rhythms, overlapping as they build a dance beat (Track 1H 6:21–7:06). Suddenly, the dance theme is undeniable (6:33). As Cardiff described, “it feels like you’re in a rave, like dance music, like boom-chicka-boom.”  This brief, exuberant interlude, teases the percipient then concludes abruptly with four rounds of rhythmic pounding (6:55–7:06).
Methodical ticking ushers in a resonant, repetitive gong like a clock tower counting the hour 24 times (Track 1I 7:07–9:20). Midway through, its timbre transmutes into a low rumbling, and its rhythm slows to an elegiac crawl. After a long silence, a low, clattering glissando rolls up and down the cellblock like batons dragged across bars then beat against an arsenal of timpani (Track 1J 9:21–10:10). An open, transitional period follows, this time featuring indeterminate noises that grow threateningly loud and seem to congregate (Track 1K 10:11–11:20). An eight-beat treble striker counts off, like a conductor or click-track, slowly at first and then once more at twice the speed, initiating a raucous, extended reprise of the ebullient dance theme (Track 1L 11:21–13:54). The dance beat rolls up and down the block in a second glissando, dissipating into ambient noise. Repetitive, unison blows fill the space and accelerate into Pandemonium’s climax (Track 1M 13:55–15:49), which sounds ultimately like a riot fueled by the libidinal release of the dance. Dance beat and militant noises engage one another in a master-level call-and-response before sounding a double beat and coming to an end. Charged silence follows (Track 1N 15:50–16:02) until the tapped exchange signals another loop. 
The cellblock announces itself as a totalizing visual experience, but Pandemonium coaxed visitors to look about themselves differently, in more localized ways, as they tracked the sources of these sounds. This iterative process of looking called into question the efficacy of the penitentiary’s visual schema in real lived experience, concentrating its possible nuances and uneven qualities. As Torchia observed, “Visual access to the cells is limited. Those on the second floor are completely out of reach and those on the ground floor are unusually dim.”  The grandeur and scale of the space solidified its impression of stillness, unperturbed by whatever was causing the sounds yet the sounds themselves exposed the falseness of this impression.  In her review of Pandemonium for Art in America, Carol Diehl corroborated a tension between the immediacy of the sounds and fact that they emanated from “unobtrusive,” “hidden,” and “unseen” sources.  In spite of its sublime reserve, the building itself was producing these noises, displacing its intended flows of power away from the singular center toward a plethora of actors emitting trajectories of sound in every direction.Black cords “trailing out of all the cells on both floors” compelled visitors to “walk down the corridor to investigate” the source of these sounds.  The live quality of the sound was apparent, and percipients soon caught their makers in action. A single robotic ‘beater’ stood in each cell, snug to its object. Each robot had a distinct visual character, comprising an armature of varying height such as a microphone stand or metal bucket rigged to a wooden drumstick or pedal, Plexiglas wand, metal screw, or felt-wrapped mallet. These strikers were controlled by PianoDisc solenoids, little motors used in player pianos. The thin black cords snaking out of the cells wired the solenoids to a MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) system with two computer-controlled, pressure-sensitive keyboards. Thick bundles of cable converged on one upstairs cell, revealing the presence of this central system there. Sinuous, rubber tubes spilled over the threshold with a menacing, organic character, like the tentacles of some nesting, alien man o’ war.  At the same time, their obvious electronic function suggested artificial intelligence, a DJ booth, or central command on a submarine or spacecraft. The robotic beaters were similarly evocative hybrids. They comprised disparate prefabricated materials, industriously screwed together to perform their singular functions. Posted one to a cell, these automatons became semi-anthropomorphic presences, their appendages thwacking objects with apparent deliberation.Keyboards controlled each side of the aisle. They were wired so that each key sent electrical energy to a single solenoid, which converted it into magnetic force of a predefined pressure along a gradient. The pressure flipped a mechanical switch that pushed the striker into action to make contact with its object with a tap, bang, or crash depending on its setting.
As Miller explained:It’s a mechanical thing. Every sound you hear is an acoustically produced sound, no speakers. A computer controls all these, we call them ‘beaters,’ that hit different things in each cell. And the way we composed it was that we had two keyboards connected to the system and every key was for a different room. Miller inventoried objects and charted their relative pitches. He added steel drums tactically to a dozen spaces to increase possible volume. His notes translated into a coding system for the keyboards that made legible their connections with the beaters. With Tonmeister Titus Maderlechner, the artists composed the sequence for the beaters to perform together and programmed it on a loop. Pandemonium’s noise multiplied and metamorphosed in dialogue with both the architecture of the cellblock and the bodies of its visitors. Drawn in by suggestions of a ghost story, percipients found themselves instead in the company of robots. Though clearly functional objects, the beaters were uncanny in their own way, seeming individually incommensurate with the force and tenacity of their collective output. They caused mute objects suddenly to resonate, and those vibrations traveled up and down, back and forth through the volume of atmosphere contained in the corridor until deflected by a wall or channeled beyond the block. With hard, angular surfaces, the acoustic environment was bright but also modulated with the fuzzier sounding-boards of visitor bodies, curving vaults, and moist dust piles.  Glissandi occur twice in Pandemonium, and in those moments, “every object in every cell [seemed] to be struck in quick succession up and down the block . . . like an x-ray passing through whatever and whomever stands in its way.”  Pandemonium offered a remarkably visceral experience of this environment, bringing visitors bodies into intimate contact with a building and world of things that could otherwise feel remote.
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A Haunting Narrative
Cardiff and Miller do seem to have conceived Pandemonium as a program of core episodes, each with distinct narrative associations.  Torchia, who observed the work in progress, charts six movements: 
1: The first begins with “what sounds like a knock at the door . . . [placing] the listener in the role of a third, silent party, perhaps a prison guard, monitoring a coded conversation.”  The artists’ promotional materials encourage this communicative interpretation: “Tip tap tip tap. Is that the sound of dripping or is it someone in a cell tapping a code on the wall?” 
2: Torchia delineates a second episode in the free-form sequence of environmental sounds that underscore the entropic conditions of the building-as-ruin.  Diehl described the sounds that follow as a single onslaught: “. . . fits of rhythmic, almost musical sequences . . . [that] resemble African percussion and climax in total cacophony—pandemonium—a prison riot.” 
3: Torchia charts two militant passages bisected by a dance beat: “A violent explosion of gunshots . . . proceeds to a dirge-like march composed of unison blows” . . .
4: . . . followed by “the most musical and jubilant passage of the piece, a beat that sounds as if it were sampled from a rave” . . .
5: . . . until at last, “there is no mistaking the uproar of a mounting riot . . . a frightening chaos, alarming in its scale and amplitude . . . ” 
6: Torchia counts a sixth and final episode in the “conspicuous pause” before Pandemonium begins again, a prolonged silence that makes indigenous noises audible. 
On its surface, Pandemonium set up an auditory illusion that ghosts were haunting the space. Torchia’s episodes help to crystallize a story line borne out by allusive percussive textures and the associative power of the penitentiary. Culture blogger Libby Rosof reported, “It wasn’t hard to imagine a story line for the noises—enforced marches, pounding heartbeats, tapped communications and beaten frustrations.”  According to Diehl, “the sense that these are instruments wielded by ghosts is overwhelming . . . the piece is a palpable evocation of the boredom, frustration and irresistible need to communicate that were no doubt felt by the unlucky participants in this idealistic penal experiment.”  Pandemonium played with the same powers of suggestion that draw dozens of “paranormal investigation teams” and television programs like America’s Ghost Hunters to Eastern State Penitentiary every year.  The museum itself exploits the narrative of haunting in an annual Halloween fundraiser. 
In her essay “Hearing History: Storytelling and Collective Subjectivity in Cardiff and Miller’s Pandemonium” published in 2008, art historian Adair Rounthwaite reads Pandemonium - through Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (1975) and Walter Benjamin’s “The Storyteller” (1936) - as an attempt to, “[use] sound to create a new narrative for the prison’s history . . . [to] reactivate . . . and ‘actualize [it] in the present.”  Rounthwaite argues that Pandemonium makes visitors self-conscious of the limits of vision-dominated efforts to understand its history. Pandemonium’s demand for phenomenological engagement reorients visitors. It “hijacks . . . [the] process of narrative association . . . that occurs naturally when entering the cellblock”—we can presume she refers here to the notion of haunting—and transforms it into a collective, aural exploration “that makes the story a part of [the listener’s] own experience.”  To Rounthwaite, Pandemonium’s robotic beaters are insensible witnesses of the unknowability of history, which is paradoxically dependent on acts of witnessing to be absorbed into collective consciousness.  While I agree that Pandemonium invites physical engagement with the site and triggers a sense of interconnection, I propose that Pandemonium’s particular uses of sound do not function to reactivate lost histories of Eastern State Penitentiary so much as to underscore its force and potentialities in the present.
Narrative and Noise
For all its suggestions of narrative, Pandemonium relied heavily on an ostensibly abstract form of instrumental music. Classical Western art music traditionally has worked to exclude any sound that would reference the world at large. Allusive sound is barred in music’s very structure, which divides musical tone (sounds with periodic vibrations such as tuned instruments and vocal chords) from noise (ambient or concrete sounds with nonperiodic vibrations).  As media arts scholar Douglas Kahn explains in his 1999 book Noise, Water, Meat: A History of Sound in the Arts, Western art music has, “long-standing habits of imagining that sounds transcend or escape meaning or that sounds elude sociality despite the fact they are made, heard, imagined, and thought by humans.”  Kahn refers to conventions that hold ‘absolute music’ to be fundamentally abstract and therefore require composers to banish narrative and purge their work of imitative sounds. Modern music issued a series of challenges to this taboo, however, and Pandemonium compressed a host of these referential strategies into its sixteen minutes.In the 1830s, European programme music set out deliberately to evoke extra-musical narratives.  The genre takes its name from written program notes that often parsed musical movements into narrative episodes for the listener. Though programme music actually predates the nineteenth century and intersects with ongoing practices of opera, ballet, and film scoring, it was codified and most richly exploited in the Romantic period contemporaneous with Eastern State Penitentiary’s early history.  Programme music relies on synesthetic correspondences between music and visual arts or lyric poetry to evoke colorful associations in the listener’s mind. Hector Berlioz’s (1803–1869) psychedelic Symphonie fantastique (1830), for example, represented with ninety instruments the experiences of a love-stricken artist as he poisoned himself with opium. Modest Mussorgsky's (1839–1881) Pictures at an Exhibition (1874) simulated with piano an attentive promenade through the galleries.Approaching the twentieth century, programme music sharpened into singular character studies or impressions of phenomena as in Richard Strauss’s (1864–1949) tone poem Don Quixote (1897) and Claude Debussy’s (1862–1918) ‘Nocturnes.’  Debussy’s focused sonic images, the sea in La Mer (1903–1905) for example, pushed the idea of musical tone as coloristic timbre to such an extreme that it exceeded programme music’s representational calling and ushered in a modern mode of expressive abstraction. Debussy played with timbre and intensely delayed crescendos to “free music from formal convention.”  In Jeux (1912), his last orchestral work, Debussy’s experiments took “cinematographic form . . . [through] constant motivic renewal in which undulating fragments gradually evolve into a scalar theme which is itself broken off at its violent climax.”  Pandemonium seems to reference this formal shift from Romantic to modern music by fluctuating between narrative episodes and phenomenally textured passages and culminating in its own delayed climax.In the twentieth century, noise replaced narrative as the material with which to challenge and innervate music. The avant-garde sought to make available to music material heretofore excluded.  Artists denaturalized the distinction between tone and noise, demonstrating that non-periodic vibrations were in fact resident in all sounds—in the initial sounding of a tone, for example, and in the enunciation of consonants.  Rather than transgress musical convention entirely, experimental musicians recuperated noise in a way that corresponded with preexisting elements of Western art music or could be appropriated from non-Western musical sources: dissonance, timbre, and percussion.  These they organized into music’s rhythmic structures. Noises that refused to let go of mimetic qualities they further manipulated through mechanical processes. In his 1913 Art of Noises manifesto, Italian futurist Luigi Russolo (1885–1947) argued for an expansion of musical timbre to include the entire spectrum of concrete sounds that animate the modern, mechanized world. He declared:We will delight in distinguishing the eddying of water, of air or gas in metal pipes, the muttering of motors that breathe and pulse with an indisputable animality, the throbbing of valves, the bustle of pistons, the shrieks of mechanical saws . . . Russolo outright rejected the distinction of tone and noise, arguing that all noises could be assigned a degree of pitch that would make it possible to organize them relative to one another “rhythmically and harmonically.”  A year later, Russolo debuted the Intonorumori, an acoustic sound generator built to execute these principles by mechanically manipulating noises into usable, areferential form. 
In the 1920s, blues singers Ma Rainey (1886–1939) and Bessie Smith (1894–1937) made of their voices modern noise instruments, reaching millions of listeners with now-classic recordings then at technology’s cutting edge. Rainey and Smith made meaning out of the very vibrations of their vocal chords, by turns growling and explosive.  They exploited timbre, texture, pacing, and diaphragmatic strength to deliver words in such a way as to overpower and subvert their denotative functions. They absorbed syncopated rhythms of the train or the modern city into a thoroughly musical organization.  Marshaling call-and-response, the core blues pattern which also structures Pandemonium, they raised collective consciousness to protest the status quo while sustaining individual agency within multiple, simultaneous perspectives. Edgard Varèse (1883–1965) honed in on noise at newly perceptible, molecular levels. He defined music open-endedly as “organized sound,” clarifying that noise was nothing more than a cultural construct— “any sound one doesn’t like.”  Scored for thirteen players negotiating an eclectic array of forty percussion instruments, his Ionisation (1933) is a thrumming five minutes forty-five seconds of rhythmic counterpoint:
Opening with a hushed murmur of bass drums, gongs and hand-cranked sirens, the music picks up momentum in its ninth measure when a military snare drum raps a jagged tattoo, bongos burbling alongside. A smaller snare drum chatters in contrast; maracas, claves, tambourine and guiro (a scraped gourd) form an insect chorus in the background . . . sirens and clanking anvils evoke an urban jungle. Rude eruptions repeatedly jut through simmering surfaces. In the last 17 bars a celesta and tubular bells produce the work’s only definite pitches; also added is a piano, its keys mashed in clusters with a forearm. The piece ends as mysteriously as it began, with a sonorous pianissimo fermata. Ionisation elicits rhythm and timbre from objects of unstable pitch.  Its narrative program, if it has one, relates to the process by which the movement of electrons reverses the charge of an atom, anticipating electronic music after the late 1950s that would, “[work] with nothing but flows of electrons run through filters and modulators . . . to produce a deeply physical and elemental form of music.”  Ionisation’s military and jungle motifs created a metaphoric atmosphere for molecular attraction and repulsion. Varèse’s use of the siren was an especially potent musicalization of noise, organizing a diverse world of sounds into a “gradient of all possible pitches.”  Kahn describes such glissandi as “the perfect modernist anthem,” balancing form and subject matter in “beautiful parabolas of sound” that evoked the droning modern city. Already in the 1920s, George Antheil (1900–1959) put siren and electric instruments to use to modernize the ballet score. He responded to Ferdinand Léger’s commission for music to accompany screenings of Ballet mécanique (1924) with a composition for, “electric bells, hammers on anvils, car horns, and mechanical pianos.”  A switchboard sat at the center of Antheil’s sound universe. His 1925 score for “Mr. Bloom and the Cyclops,” for example, features a switchboard controlling sixteen mechanical pianos, eight xylophones, and an orchestral array of instruments transmitted by gramophones.  Pandemonium’s very functionality depended on a late-twentieth-century adaptation of the player pianos used by Antheil that were at peak commercial prominence in the 1920s; its MIDI system evoked Antheil’s switchboard actuators.In the second half of the twentieth century, artists pushed the amplitude of noise—volume—to the limits of human hearing. John Cage (1912–1992) amplified barely audible sounds, demonstrating that noise is pervasive and silence a myth.  Cage frequently recounted the strong impression made on him by a visit to the anechoic chamber at Harvard University in 1951.  In this space of near-total sensory deprivation he heard two sounds, one high and one low. The engineer in charge explained that these noises were Cage’s nervous system in operation and his blood in circulation. No matter how deprived its environment the human body—indeed all matter—generates energetic sound.  Cage’s student the fluxus artist Dick Higgins (1938–1998) mined the opposite pole of the immersive noise spectrum with works like Loud Symphony (1958), screeching feedback generated by his passing a microphone in front of a loudspeaker for half an hour.  Higgins and his peers, especially La Monte Young (b. 1935), explored loudness as a way to listen to music from within, “establishing a common space of auditive being for both the musicians and the audience,” where individual autonomy seemed to evaporate into vibrant, collective being. In the rock and roll arena, music crossed a noise threshold in 1969 when Jimi Hendrix (1942–1970) addressed the crowd at Woodstock with the Star Spangled Banner, his protest wailing through amplifiers powered at ten watts and hooked up to sixteen massive loudspeakers.  Bands like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and The Who broke records in the 1970s with concerts exceeding 120 decibels. Noise defined the countercultural punk aesthetic of the mid-1970s and 1980s, proponents of which boycotted musical technique in protest of its complicity in consumer culture.  A subsequent wave of anti-establishment noise bands salvaged industrial refuse, using sheet metal and oil drums as instruments.  A powerful interface of noise, rhythm, and identity politics propelled Afro-diasporic electronic music in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, as traced in the Black Audio Film Collective’s documentary The Last Angel of History (1995) from a pre-history in the blues of Robert Johnson (1911–1938) to the avant-garde jazz of Sun Ra (1914–1993), futuristic funk of George Clinton (b. 1941), Detroit techno of Derrick May (b. 1963), and on into the future. 
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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.
Volume in an Expanded Field
Pandemonium drew its force out of the specific, spatial environment of cellblock seven. The work’s uncompromising site-specificity, along with the representational quality of its sounds, embed it in the late-twentieth-century phenomenon of sound art. Sound art encapsulates a diverse field of artistic practices that engage sound as material, medium, or concept and yet remains resolutely intermedia, fusing elements that “fall conceptually between media that are already known.”  While incontrovertibly a fluid and dynamic category, sound art is best understood as distinct from experimental music due to its sustained involvement with postminimalist concerns around site-specificity and sculpture in an expanded field, as well as the body’s centrality as a medium in action and performance art.  These medial considerations become socially charged in sound installations like Pandemonium that use the material of sound to investigate relationships between sensing bodies and their aggregation in physical environments.The term sound art has a suite of origin stories pointing to the genre’s codification in the 1980s and institutionalization in the 1990s. Canadian electroacoustic composer Dan Lander is credited with coining the term in the mid-1980s, as is American composer William Hellerman with the 1984 exhibition Sound/Art at New York’s Sculpture Center.  Sound art exhibitions proliferated in the 1980s and 1990s, with a spate of high profile shows around 2000, just as Cardiff and Miller completed their training and emerged as professional artists.  Sound art garnered especially robust scholarly and public attention in Germany, and Berlin, where Cardiff and Miller lived part-time after Cardiff received a DAAD grant and residency in 2000, was elevated as a world center for making and experiencing work in this mode. Sound art’s pre-history typically charts a course, much like the one tapped by Pandemonium, from the work of modern composers to free jazz and minimalist music, from dada poetry, futurist noise, and phonography to musique concrète, culminating in the work of Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928–2007), and their fluxus offshoots.  Sound art also has important extra-musical dimensions related to minimalist practices.  Musicologist Helga de la Motte-Haber, who has written extensively on sound art or Klangkunst as it is known in German, designates sound art as a confluence of concerns related to installation, sculpture, and public space and insists that it be defined as much by visual as by auditory aspects—“Klangkunst ist zum Hören und zum Sehen bestimmt.”  Sight and sound converge in a holistic interplay of the senses triggered by sculptures and installations that use the traditionally durational material of sound to investigate architecture, environment, and the body. Sound art’s emergence as a category in the 1980s consolidated experiments in sound sculpture and installation begun in the late 1950s.  Curator Carsten Seiffert, who founded Berlin’s Singuhr Hoergalerie in 1996, explains:In my understanding, the term sound art primarily covers sound installations and sound sculptures that can be experienced in a unique physical space . . . Space itself becomes a medium of creation, and due to an artistic engagement with it and in it, turns into a place.” Writer and composer Alan Licht locates the earliest sound installations consonant with this site-specific definition in the Corbusier-designed Philips Pavilion at the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair: Varèse’s Poème électronique and Iannis Xenakis’ (1922–2001) Concret PH.  The term “sound installation” appeared around 1971, when artist Max Neuhaus (1939–2009) applied it to his own spatial sound works beginning with Drive In Music (1967). Crucially, sound art dispenses with the musical priority to dissolve sound’s references to the meaningful world. Lander describes sound art as a diverse field of practices united first and foremost by an interest in sound’s capacity for signification.  “Ripe with meaning and content distinguishable from the meaning and content of musical expression,” Lander argues, sound art “[confronts] the meaning(s) of the noise we produce.”  Sound art differs from music in its articulation of space and its concerns with the social meanings of sounds, which it refuses to accept as pure or abstract.  It explores sound as “intrinsically and unignorably relational.”  Sounds transmit according to the acoustic character of the particular place in which the artwork is situated, and each percipient experiences them there according to her distinct physiology and position.  Curator Bernd Schulz defines sound art as an extension of Rosalind Krauss’s logic of sculpture in the expanded field: “an art form . . . in which sound has become material within the context of an expanded concept of sculpture . . . for the most part works that are space-shaping and space-claiming in nature.”  Volume is a useful concept with which to integrate these discourses:
Volume: measure of a space, and volume: amplitude of sound. Consider volume as the variability of that space in sound. Consider volume as something within but wholly separate. Consider volume as the invisible and unmarked presence of sound. Consider volume as the intertwine [sic] of the spatial and the sonic . . . Sound art, to summarize, is relational, sculptural, volumetric, semantically engaged, and socially charged.Pandemonium belongs unequivocally to the sound art context, so much so that it insists we not misunderstand the work as a soundtrack added to its site. Rather, the building itself transmitted Pandemonium’s message that sonic force belongs to the sentient body and is meaningful in structuring its relations. Percipients were unlikely to recognize every musical reference in Pandemonium (Cardiff and Miller appropriated so thoroughly that the present analysis can suggest only some of its key trajectories), but their message transmitted through its sheer, affective accumulation of noise strategies. Pandemonium investigated its subject—the stabilized ruin of a real place and its implications for ongoing sensory relations in the world—using noise as at once a powerful concept and concrete, physical material. Pandemonium depended on the social histories and architectural volume of Eastern State Penitentiary, both its serial repetition and the sublimely reverberate scale that could give itself over at any minute to immersive cacophony. Pandemonium awakened that space with a century of allusive noise to trigger a concrete experience of the present.
Words Drawn in Water and Synchronic History
Words Drawn in Water never convinces as time travel, nor does it mean to. The narrative is partly a pretense to keep the user in close proximity with the artist’s sonic presence. The trompe l’oreille illusion depends on, “how our body reacts to the intimacy of this other body layered on top.”  Using sound, Cardiff convinces our bodies to adopt her gait and mirror her breathing. We begin not only to see and hear but also to feel, both in terms of sensuous tactility and embodied emotion. She makes our nervous systems receptive and malleable to sensory experiences and their affects. In this way, the walk primes the user’s body for interpersonal contact, much in the manner ascribed by Leja to trompe l’oeil paintings.  Cardiff’s walks trigger this intimate affect not by palpably rendered things, but through invisible waves of sound. By the end of the walk, the listener is charged with longing for intimate, interpersonal communion for which the only target is an ambiguous, personal narrative about a symbolically-laden, ideologically-charged public place.The walk layers documentary fragments and paradigmatic associations with past, present, and future topographies of the site. Making sense of these elusive materials is a possible outlet for the somatic desire to connect. More than a pretense, the fictional narrative of time travel suggests concrete ways in which interrelation across time and distance could be, in fact, quite plausible and near at hand like the droplet of water that migrated from the nineteenth century into your mouth. Given the pun with James Smithson’s surname, the wedge of sky-reflecting mirror likely references Robert Smithson’s 1969 essay Incidents of Mirror-Travel in the Yucatan and related artworks in which he attempted to disintegrate nineteenth-century narratives of progress and positivism.  As art historian Jennifer Roberts argues in her 2004 book Mirror-Travels: Robert Smithson and History, Smithson’s mirrors, “act literally to decompose or to ruin the illusion of continuous space,” subverting a perspectival system structured to control and systemize spatial, sensory, and thereby social relationships. Cardiff invokes Smithson not only in stream-of-consciousness word play but, crucially, to invoke his efforts at “cancelling historical time” by embracing a crystalline model of ruin and renewal in which history does not unfold in a linear progression but enfolds in its own dynamic, enveloping, cyclical processes.  Like Smithson, Cardiff and Miller offer a robust critique of models of history that would configure documentary evidence into a totalizing and anthropocentric teleology of progress. Words Drawn in Water makes an argument that time does not recede irrevocably along a singular trajectory into the past. It sets out to demonstrate how past and future events suspend dynamically together in specific material environments grounded more or less fleetingly in a particular time and place.  Cardiff and Miller train the percipient’s awareness on the multiple, ongoing histories—some private and some public, some documented and some intuited or imagined—that compress at any given moment within a bounded physical environment. The percipient is invited, through the audio walk’s trompe l’oreille illusion, to sense residual presences of other sensing bodies in the physical substance of that given environment, whether through consideration of visible objects or invisible forces. These sensations trigger desire for intimate connection which invite the user to reflect in a more careful and sustained way on her own complex relationship to that place in which she is briefly enmeshed. Acts of memory take shape not as some retrospective projection into a separate past, then, but through sustained corporeal meditation on the sensible substances of a particular, experiential present.Pandemonium continued these efforts by Cardiff and Miller to create an experience of feeling so close to someone else, “that you’re really there.” Its live, sonic assault absorbed the percipient’s body in an intimate encounter with Eastern State Penitentiary’s physical environment, replete as it was with historical materials that were also concretely of that place in the present. Cardiff and Miller used the conventions of programme music combined with the suggestive power of the Romantic ruin to reel percipients into an entertaining illusion that cellblock seven was haunted by ghosts who reenacted a fantastical version of their own histories. While the ghostly illusion was unconvincing, its intriguing mechanics sustained the percipient’s attention. All the while, noise triggered forceful, sensory response until its sheer volume pulled the rug out from the illusion altogether, landing the percipient concretely in the here and now. At the same time, the artists loaded the composition with signifiers from the history of noise music. This spectrum of noise—alarmingly loud and whisperingly soft, harbinger of conflict and of congregation—penetrated the percipient’s body, revealing it to be continuous with the cellblock’s acoustical space and material history.