Accel/Zero-Phase

Two paired sound installations and text installation in the town of Eisenerz, Styria. Part of a series of interventions in public space with the Daily Rhythms Collective. Commissioned by eisenerZ*ART.

Embedded in the project Chain Reaction, and within the topic of Zeitlupe (slow-motion, literally ‘time magnifying glass’), two complementary sound installation were realised in the Styrian town of Eisenerz. One, Accel was placed in the art space Freiraum and is based on the acceleration of time, while the other, Zero-Phase, was placed in the 15th/16th century historic building Schwarzer Hof and is based on the standstill of time.

Accel

The piece Accel is based on a real-time resampling process that speeds up the art space’s outside soundscape by a factor of 32 (or five octaves), successively overwriting a buffer that compresses the past eleven hours into an acoustic image of twenty minutes. The sound is projected by transducers onto two glass plates placed on an ancient looking table with a particular surface obtained by its longtime usage as a spray paint table. The shrinking town of Eisenerz is full of empty spaces, old machines and strange and dusty surfaces. The table was found in a former carpenter’s workshop.

I had first experimented with highly accelerated/downsampled long-term recorded sound during a residency in 2012, where I noticed the particular patterns produced by the rhythms that are too slow for us to recognise at their original speed. Having implemented this principle for the first time in Accel, I find most peculiar the resemblance of the soundscape of a tropical patio with birdsong. This “spatial transport” is even more emphasised by the horizontal thinness of the glass plates.

Accel (acoustic recording; use headphones at moderate level)
 

Zero-Phase

In the same building in which I found the spray paint table, there were numerous metal objects and metal tools, broken window glass, … A sound recording from this building forms the basis for Zero-Phase. This recording was stripped of its temporal and rhythmic information by what is called a “minimum phase filter”, and together with an overlapping window technique a drone-like sound is obtained that is slowed down by 32, the reciprocal factor used in Accel. A simple algorithm selects stretches of these “standing textures”. The sound is emitted from the cellar of Schwarzer Hof and audible from the street through an open cellar window. Around the corner, a white text on acrylic glass is installed inside what appears to be a former (now empty) frame on the stone wall. Cellar window and frame are marked by a pink line. The text is arranged by a layout algorithm similar to the one used in the video triptych of Configuration. The German text translates as:

Acceleration and deceleration have no fixed meaning. Frequencies interfere and become standing or moving waves, like the imprint of the spokes of a revolving wheel on celluloid or the beam of a video image. It is the same resonance behaviour that underlies the ease with which a dream overleaps or overlays epochs, and the coincidence of all our proper temporalities in the assumed here and now.

Zero-Phase (acoustic recording; use headphones at moderate level)