Camille Norment - Notes from the Undermind
  Year :   2001
  Location :   USA
  Worktype :   architectural sound installation
  Materials:   dimensions variable
  Info :   2001, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York

  Work Details  
  In this work, the visitor is invited to enter a padded cell as a hidden space of the social unconscious, located in what was usually an unused, hollow shell of the museum. Mounted throughout the space are stainless steel poles reminiscent of dancing poles for strippers, those lining the aisles of subway cars, and the bars of prison cells. Each pole subtly rings at a different pitch as they vibrate at their resonant frequency, allowing the voice of the material itself to be present in the space. The tones of the subtle harmonic choir change as poles are touched by visitors, stopping the poles from resonating. The dissonant ringing is symptomatic of a psychosis - a collapse of seduction and repulsion further complicated by the other elements in the work. The walls, ceiling, and floor are covered with material which, functionally has a sound dampening and sound distorting effect, and aesthetically serves to further fetishize the space. As visitors speak, the acoustic distortion of their voices blends subtly, yet harmonically with the ringing of the poles, creating an audible effect that is both eerie and seductive. This seductive play is enhanced by each visitors physical navigation through and around the poles in the sexualized space. Through the simplicity of natural interaction - walking, talking, listening - visitors experience their physical presence in the space. The body itself becomes a fetishized component of the environment, as well as an activator of the work. The vertical poles were chosen as structural objects because of their sonic quality as well as their physical attraction people instinctively find themselves grabbing a hold and discover that in doing so they alter the harmonics of the subtle sonic environment. An everyday and unconscious act of the body is utilized as a performance mechanism. Accessed 02.01.2008 from Accessed 02.01.2008 from