mark fell





one dimensional music without context and meaning, 2013, 40 mins.

a tonal work consisting of 32 layers recorded on the serge modular system and ems stockholm.

performed at EMPAC new york (54 speakers), LAMPO chicago (4 speakers), TRANSFORMER STATION cleveland museum of art (8 speakers), SITE gallery sheffield (stereo), whitechapel (8.2)

The piece was developed during a residency at The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York in 2013. It uses 32 layers of sound synthesis recorded with a Serge modular synthesiser at Elektronmusikstudion (EMS) Stockholm (Sweden) earlier in 2013. Each layer has no temporal variation. The work uses 3rd order Ambisonics to position each layer at a static location on the surface of a hypothetical sphere that surrounds the audience. The work starts at the border of silence and over its duration is gradually increased to an extremely high level.

The title of the piece is derived from the comments of an anonymous reviewer who claimed that it was ‘one dimensional’. But how might a sound of ‘singular’ dimension appear in our world? The Russian mathematician and mystic P. D. Ouspensky describes the form of multi-dimensional objects in spaces of lower dimensionality. Consider a three-dimensional object (for example a cone) travelling through a two dimensional plane – first it appears as a point, then grows to a circle of increasing size, and finally disappears in an instant. The work can be thought of in terms of this principle - its singular dimension is that of volume, throughout the work the initial soothing wash of sound does not transform in terms of frequency or timbre, only in terms of scale. Perhaps we could think of this non-spatial form moving through a spatial field as an allegorical manifestation of time, the conical tip of its ‘arrow’ sonically piercing the space as it travels through it and us.

© mark fell, modified April 18, 2016, at 02:20 AM PDT edit print