Brandon LaBelle - Backstage
  Year :   2004
  Location :   Germany
  Worktype :   Installation
  Materials:   -
  Info :   Parochial, Singuhr - Horgalerie in Parochial, Berlin

  Work Details  
  For this work, I was interested to work more directly with the given architectural space so as to create an acoustical/musical experience — to turn the space into an instrument. What struck me about the highly idiosyncratic space of the gallery was its parallel archways featured on either end of the space. Essentially, the space is structured around two chambers connected through a series of vaulted ceilings, forming a symmetrical lay-out. The parallel archways and chambers struck me as forming a “stereophonic architecture” where each chamber acts to create a full-dimensional stereo-space. It was this that I attempted to accentuate in the installation.Working with these two main archways, large wooden doors were built to fit perfectly inside the archways. In addition, the doors were built to be able to swing completely around in a 360 degree rotation. In this way, the two chambers could be completely separated off, forming a series of three smaller spaces out of the single space.In conjunction with this architectural intervention, loudspeakers were mounted at the very far-ends of the space. Amplified through these speakers were two main sound events: the first, being a series of frequencies tuned to the space so as to create highly active beating patterns (between 800 and 900Hz, and 300 and 400Hz). These were structured to create a dialogue between the two sides/chambers of the space: essentially, one set of frequency was positioned on one end, while the other appeared at the opposite side, roughly one at a time. Such a situation encouraged visitor’s to walk through the space, moving the doors so as to activate the acoustical experience by modulating the frequency patterns, blocking out beating patterns while the doors were completely closed, and allowing them to happen when open. In addition, a visitor could occupy one of the end chambers by “locking” themselves in, thereby hearing only one frequency. In addition to the use of frequencies, I create a second audio event by amplifying a recording I made of a crowd found backstage at a concert I attended. This recording consists of the din of voices, where no single voice is understood. I played this recording in the space, while walking through the space, opening and closing the doors and recording the sounds through a single stereo microphone. I then played back this recording, and proceeded to walk around again, moving the doors and making another recording. This act was performed 7 times, until I was left with an abstracted recording in which the acoustics of the room were made more apparent—it is important to stress that such acoustical play was made more complex by the act of moving the doors, walking in the space, again and again. In this way, the final recording embodied the architectural specificity of the installation as it interfered with and adjusted the found acoustics of the space. This second recording was amplified as a second audio event, after the frequency work. This created two distinct situations: the first (frequency) being defined by inviting visitor’s to activate the space, and the second (crowd recording) being defined by a recording action whereby I performed the space.As another level to the work, a single speaker was mounted into each door. This amplified a series of “small sounds” prepared from found objects in the church: textural, dry, intimate, personal, these sounds occurred at random points, creating an additional sonic and spatial layer, for the door-speakers would effectively be located according to the movements and position of the doors, forming a playful placement of local sound.