Speakers swing in slow arcs, playing long, simple tones. Exactly the same sound is sent to each
speaker. As the speakers swing the sounds coming from them shift
slightly in frequency. This is the doplar effect, familiar from the rise and fall of an
ambulance siren as it whizzes by. The doplar-shifted sounds, which are now at slightly different
frequencies, interact with one another, causing a slight flutter of interference when they meet up
again at your ears.
I like the idea that some signal (sound, light, thought, a person) is split off from itself,
and each copy is sent off on its own. Once split, the copies live parallel, but separate,
lives. Some time later they meet, and although they're still essentially the same signal, the
different routes they have taken, and the forces that have acted on them, have changed them in
subtle but important ways. Upon meeting, those changes become apparent. I think of this as a
primitive form of time travel.
Study for Time Travel was first presented at the CalArts
CEAIT Festival in 2000, with recordings of
quietly singing long, high notes. It was remade
in 2009 for
Welcome Sound: Audio Art in Roosevelt Homes in Roosevelt, New Jersey. Unfortunately
I could not find the original recordings of Jody singing, so I used simple synthesized tones
based on the tunings of different Javanese gamelans. Thanks to Nancy and Ralph Warnick for hosting
Study for Time Travel in their lovely backyard!
with Larry Polansky
at the CEAIT festival
(7 MB .mov)