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CTBTO 50th Session Commemoration
A sound installation artist, trained in both classical music composition and visual arts, his works are featured in public, museum, gallery and alternate sites. Notable achievements include installations in Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Italy, and the U.S. (see listing of select installations).
Talman’s work is presented in natural, arts, spiritual and cosmic contexts, in both interiors and outdoors. His +40 installations include many collaborations with scientists from leading international institutions including NASA, Max-Planck Institute, MIT, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, Princeton University and many more.
Elements – CTBTO recorded sound data
The flowing sounds of deep-water hydrophone, seismometer and atmospheric infrasound from CTBTO recordings will serve as a natural ambient backdrop to the installation sound. As with CTBTO there is an always-presence. The sounds, as source material for music composition, will be presented in a multi-channel installation, a surrounding environment of sound, just as the sounds themselves are surrounding in nature.
The recorded sounds present chaotic frequency content from which specific frequencies will register as louder. Extracted, these frequencies serve as source material, so that various sound signatures of the original sounds will permeate the installation in a large-scale composition that is quasi-symphonic in nature. Further, various events registered in the data will also inform the work, hurricanes, tsunami, volcanoes, the so-called hum of the Earth,* and nuclear activity.
These CTBTO recordings, as though heard with an “audio microscope,” will serve as the only source to the installation sound composition.
The recordings deal with classical antiquities’ four elements, air, water, land and fire (volcanic, nuclear holocaust). The usage of both ambient and catastrophic event sounds provides stark dramatic contrast in the work. The importance of the CTBTO mission is stressed in the project title. With a slight bow to Bob Dylan’s All Along the Watchtower, the installation title reflects the song lyrics in 180º reversal. Dylan’s watchtower benefits the aristocracy and rich retaining their control. Along the Watch is a celebration of 50 years of international cooperation toward averting crisis. It sings of human responsibility via fire watchtowers, environmental watches and others dedicated to guarding realms of the world. It is a song of guardians.
A previous installation, Sea of Curves (2012-2013), presented in Newfoundland, Canada and Dortmund, Germany, featured air-based, hydrophone, and seismological recordings. In a German language review of that installation by the WDR network (West German Radio), presenter Thomas Frank responded to the experience: …the sound is ethereal, uncanny and apocalyptic.
Connection with the ancient world via the four elements suggests a sense of +2,000 years of human continuity, of the ongoing, which is central to the mission of CTBTO. Tying in natural elemental catastrophes, hurricane, tsunami, volcano with human-made catastrophe is a compelling metaphor. Humans can be as deadly as natural catastrophe, which brings up the corollary idea of environmental destruction via climate change. Though not part of the work, the bridge via metaphor is made available.
Watches have existed across the globe for as long as humans have banded together. But perhaps none to the scale of the CTBTO watch. Placing CTBTO in an historical context is a vital element of the title and concept of the work. However, a watchtower is along a border. Sentinel to the Wind (2006), a Bavarian Forest installation along the German border with the Czech Republic, dealt precisely with this issue. But Along the Watch instead deals with the CTBTO networked watch, not dealing with one border, but rather global. It is fitting that the sound produces a 4D environment.
*Thought by scientists to be created by chaotic sea wave sounds that strike the seafloor, penetrate into the Earth and cause it to ring like a bell.
The installation is intended for large-scale public display. Ideal presentation sites include cathedral, church, museum settings, or other alternate large-scale public place such as palace, historic sites, alternative arts sites, and large lobbies or atriums. Ideally the site will offer high ceilings with the capacity to get sound projection above listeners as well as around them. The work might also be presented in a suitable outdoor location.
Along the Watch is a multi-channel sound installation that may be presented continuously (looped) or in a more traditional scheduled concert-like event (see Presentation). A sound system, including computer or other multi-channel playback with mixer, speakers, amplification and cabling are necessary for the presentation. Professional event presenters will be able to provide and install rented equipment and see to operation.
Site staff might also simply turn sound off and on according to schedule once the system is installed. The installation may be presented for a run of weeks/days, presented either looped or in single, limited one-time play-through as per schedule, or as a special one-time event.
The artist can be available for a scheduled presentation and discussion. It is suggested that a portion of the sound be presented to the audience first, then artist presentation with a period for questions and answers, and then a full presentation of the sound program, much like a sit-down concert and/or with audience able to roam casually throughout the site. Duration of an event of this nature would run to one hour, with a possibility for a continued social event afterwards.
The work may be presented in multiple sites simultaneously or as scheduled. The work may be artist-produced in digital stereo formats toward promotion and commercial sales including digital distribution of the sound.
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