Hydroprinting I (Watermarks)
With Watermarks, I would like to focus on aspects of do-it-yourself hydrophony, as well as artistically re-purposing aspects of hydrography to represent something presentable in an aesthetic medium. Apologies for the obscure references – allow me to elaborate. Regarding hydrography, the official definition of a hydrograph is a device used to to measure the output of a body of water, usually in the form of a graph similar to that of its more-famous cousins, the seismograph, or perhaps even the polygraph. However, etymologically speaking, the key word here is “graph,” being to make an indelible mark of some kind, in some way – in this case, via hydro, or otherwise water. In the case of a hydrophone, the reference is much more rooted in its established definition – being the measurement of sound in water, in this case by way of specially-modified piezoelectric transducers built to withstand the rigors of an aquatic environment.
To elaborate further, I would like to create a semi-autonomous off-grid installation designed to take the subaquatic sounds of the Delaware River, and by way of hand-assembled, low-voltage amplifiers and modulators, generate enough of a signal to power a small transducer harnessed to an ultra-fine tip marker in a system designed to mimic the visual output of an old-fashioned seismograph, simulating the movement of paper by way of homebuilt, hand-cranked rollers. While I primarily consider myself as a sound artist, with only aspects of my work overlapping into environmental art, I feel that the parallels drawn between geologic measurement and the Delaware River is especially prevalent in light of the current hydrofracking debate that threatens the environmental well-being of the region at-large.
For this installation, I would present Watermarks in the following fashion: two hydrophones on fifty-foot leads will be lowered into the water, with simple fishing bobbers fixed to the wires approximately forty feet out, enabling the microphones to be affected by the river’s current while maintaing a set-depth. On land, I will have a small box consisting of two devices, each powered by a single 9-volt battery – specifically, these will be a small audio-amplifier and a single battery-powered speaker to audibly document the sounds produced by the river via this array. Prior to the speaker, I will employ an audio-splitter, and will direct the second output to a small piezoelectric transducer attached to the marker/roller array as described in the previous paragraph – ideally presenting a quasi-autonomous visual representation of the event, at the rate of fifteen to thirty minutes per page, depending on the acoustic/vibrational content present during the event.
- 08.06.2011 – Narrowsburg, Pa. Premier of Watermarks, a site specific performance/installation presented as part of the Electronic Music Foundation’s Ear to the Earth SlowFloat Event.