Oscillations (2004)


Oscillations was a temporary, site-specific public intervention on display in Cambridge, MA May 14-16 2004 utilizing 48 speakers across 3 four story facades of an U-shaped loading dock area. Responding to the history of the building, which in the 1950’s housed a manufacturer of instrumentation measurement systems and referencing equipment – oscillation circuits were one of their significant contributions to the technology field – I utilized sounds of audible oscillations, pure tonalities based on sine waves, that swing back and forth between the buildings’ facades.  The sound was provided by 24 independent sound channels through 48 speakers ‘swinging’ the sound source spatially throughout the loading dock area.  The etymology of oscillate is possibly derivative of the Latin word oscillum, a diminutive of “mouth”. I liked this reference for the speakers on the building façade becoming “small mouths” speaking from the history of the site, forming a chorus of the building’s past yet interweaving this voice with contemporary sounds of the busy street surrounding the building: the beep, beep, beep of delivery trucks backing up, the long, deep throaty call of a train passing by, and the clacking of containers being loaded onto trucks of the NECCO factory next door.  This intermix of sound referencing past histories and current activities was a thought-provoking experience of the permanence of the site, posing the question “what has changed?”

Funded in part by a MIT Council for the Arts Grant

24 channel sound installation

Shown in conjunction with the MIT Visual Arts Program Graduate Show, Creative Intelligence, Cambridge, MA

May 14-16 2004