Saturday, June10, 2017 I participated for the sixth time in Northern Spark. The project I directed was called Un:heard Resonance. Also involved were artists Mike Hodnick AKA Kindohm (music), Chris LeBlanc (visuals), Lucas Melchior AKA MKR (music), and Aaron Marx (design). I was also fortunate to have the help of several student / former student volunteers inlcuding: Mike Miller, Meg Gauthier, and Justin Maki. The piece was be performed at the Weisman Art Museum from 8:59pm to 5:26am.
The piece was comprised of a series of electronic sonatas composed in real time with micro-sonic signals crowdsourced from the audience. A variety of microphones and sensors were used to capture rarely heard vibrations emitted by geological, biological, and technological processes. Three movements chronicled the stages of the planet’s evolution: Geology, Biology, and Technology. The project brought awareness to sonic activity rarely experienced within the environments we live in and exploit. The combination of micro-sonics and accompaniment non-verbally stressed hidden geological processes, the fragility and jeopardy of the ecosystem as it faces climate change, and the rapid, global expansion of technology.
It also implied that technology may eventually replace the geological and biological states of the world. A precedent for this idea resides in the concept of “Computronium” theorized by Norman Margolus and Tommaso Toffoli at MIT, a hypothetical state of matter that would yield the most efficient and powerful atomic arrangement for computer processing. The Geology and Biology sonatas represented the first two sequential stages in the evolution of the planet, while Technology suggested the dystopian possibility of the world becoming a giant computer that no longer supports life as we know it.
Northern Spark attracts more than 100,000 visitors to experience hundreds of interactive art, music, and performance projects throughout the Nuit Blanche. In 2017 the overall theme was Climate Chaos | People Rising. All the projects were shown along the Green Line, a light rail line that stretches from downtown Minneapolis to downtown St. Paul, Minnesota. A brief video documentary about the performance is currently in production.