About this project
Please help us make our upcoming performance at Socrates Sculpture Park really incredible!
On September 29, 2012, we will be performing Metal Fatigue Music (1992 Toyota Previa) publicly for the first time at Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens, NY. The project uses a very loud, bass-heavy stereo system installed in a minivan to cause physical components of the vehicle to vibrate, shake, and rumble.
Jeff DeGolier and Ben Vida began collaborating on Metal Fatigue Music in early 2012. Ben composes and produces experimental music and Jeff's visual art recontextualizes readily-available objects. Ben became interested in composing music for a "bass-car", or "boom-car", considering the history of proprietary, hyper-specialized music venues; Jeff had been experimenting with car-audio components in sculpture, in line with his interest in the readymade and the history of the found object in art, and there seemed to be an unmistakeable synchronicity in their interests.
Where we're at:
At this point, the project has advanced in both practice and theory. We have maintained a series of "rehearsals" in the Toyota Previa, and have outfitted it with a seven-speaker, dual-amplifier sound system that comes sort of close to meeting our electro-mechanical needs. One of the main objectives of Metal Fatigue Music is to produce "metal fatigue drone", which requires, honestly, a ridiculous amount of power; we hope to produce over 145dB with this system. Alas, we are short on funds and in order to create the kind of performance we think this project is worthy of, we need enough money to buy a very powerful subwoofer amplifier, two more subwoofers, expensive electrical cable, a secondary battery, and some other odds and ends.
A more involved statement regarding the project:
Metal Fatigue Music (1992 Toyota Previa) (2012) is an audio automobile performance scored for digitally programmed pure wave oscillators, computer controlled analog synthesizer and boom car. Metal Fatigue Music uses pure wave tones, programmed to sweep through low frequency ranges and played through the sound system of a boom car—in this case, the iconic Toyota Previa minivan—to physically activate the body of the car and producing a sub-bass and metal fatigue drone. This piece is experienced from both the inside and outside the vehicle. The composition will be presented a live performance at Socrates Sculpture Park on September 29, 2012.
20th century electronic music was often contextualized though the site and method of its audition. Electronic music presentations rely on the sound system as the source of all sound projection. The location of the system functions as a frame for how a composition is received and understood. Housed in locations that are either institutional (such as Francois Bayle’s Acousmonium, built for GRM Radio France) or hyper-commercialized (the Wave Front system at Disney’s Epcot Center), these settings, by their nature, create a frame of exclusivity. By utilizing the car stereo for electronic performance our intent is to refocus the source of delivery to a location that is less formalized, to a temporary common space available to all. Since the car stereo mobilizes the soundsystem, now the place of audition can be anywhere. Eventually, we envision this versions of this work will be presented in a number of locations and contexts. Even when this sound system is brought off the street and into a formal setting such as a museum or gallery it brings with it its prearticulation of mobility: the promise of recontextualization. Within the boom car community, competitions are held to measure the decibel levels of the audio systems (see wikipedia's definition of dB drag racing). Pure waves are used to test amplitude. This is a non-musical sound event—the pure waves function solely to activate the sound system and to reveal its maximum decibel level. Metal Fatigue Music reframes this practice, combining the history of experimental electronic music performance and readymade sculpture with the test tone materiality of the boom car competition. The sweeping pure waves used in Metal Fatigue Music take a cue from the works of Alvin Lucier and Maryanne Amacher by functioning on the level of architectural activation rather than solely as a discreet musical composition. The project also draws historically from the work of visual artists Robert Rauschenberg and Kienholz by taking a similar interest in the simultaneous adoration and criticism of contemporary culture's dependency on the automobile and mass-production in general.
The audio materials in Metal Fatigue Music are, in a sense, a secondary property only understood through physically activating the body of the car. The abstract nature of the composition takes the piece away from the framework of musical composition and delivers it to a place of sonic phenomenology and material essentialism. This work recontextualizes the electronic music performance, delivering it to any number of diverse locations and invites a wider audience to take part in an ecstatic public event.
Thank you for looking, and we hope to see you at the performance!
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