BEDLAM (ˈbɛdləm)
-n 1. a noisy confused place or situation.
Solar Power. Sound recording. 

In partnership with the Des Moines Art Center and some amazing connections made around the city, I’ll be installing solar powered sound recorders around the city to collect sounds in the month of May. There’s lots to figure out but the opportunity and possibilities are really exciting. Collecting the unheard and the ignored. Sounds that no one else might hear. Machines running out of my control. Wondering what all might be collected.  

    
    
 

Listening to the Unwanted, Broadcast from the Desirable

Listening to the broadcasts of the unwanted that stem from the desirable.

Infrastructural Radiations 02013-002-0073
Dead rat making – Listening at the fabric store

We live in the city about 200 feet from the train tracks, 1 block from the courthouse clock tower and within ear shot of the flights that leaving form the airport. I’ve been enjoying collecting noises from our balcony but it hasn’t been easy. Being several floors up and overlooking an expanse of open space the balcony tends to be breezy. I’ve been playing with some nice little microphones but the foam windscreens that were included with them just aren’t doing the job. So I’ve tried to make my own small dead rats for them. Lately I’ve been wanting to 1) make more things 2) sew more with this great sewing machine I was given and 3) record more noises for my projects so this quick little project ticks all three of those boxes quite nicely. I made two and the whole thing used about ¢25 worth of fabric.

Listening at the fabric store is also an interesting adventure. Although nothing says “I don’t really belong here, do I?” like a guy with hiking paints and a long beard holding long fury fabrics to his ears at the middle-aged woman crafty fabric store.

Dem Noises – Infrastructural Intersections

Listening at the Intersection of Infrastructure

Cutting through the city of Des Moines is an active railway line with trains passing all throughout the day and night. They begin early in the morning and can run well after the sun sets. The main line near the city center is parallel to the stretch of road designed to run from the capital building sitting atop the hill straight down through the urban center, cross the Des Moines river. Up against the tracks on either side throughout this expanse of the urban landscape are parking lots, alley ways, some office buildings and a few buildings converted into hip residential communities. The depot has been converted into a facility with a sports bar with a jokey name at one end, a German restaurant at the other and some sort of cube farm in the center by the looks of it through the windows. While the function and interiors of the this historically recognizable elongated structure have been altered, the exterior with it’s arched windows and covered waiting platform remains much the same. You just see two lovers about to be separated for an extended period of time exchanging handkerchiefs through an open train car window. Extending in both directions along the track is a series of parking lots that run adjacent for the duration of the west side of downtown ending at a slightly wooded area where some of the sub-urban arterial roads begin. A few streets of the city have been given a second layer that rises up over the tracks so drivers have a one-way north bound and one-way south bound option for getting around the city at times of the train’s intervention which can be any combination of long, slow and frequent. The rail line cuts across a dozen or more numbered streets paired with nothing but flat asphalt for blocks.

Because the trains cross so many streets, the horns sound almost constantly. The wailing drones are varied in pitch and texture. The drone carries. The flat parking lots don’t abstract the sound as it is hurled towards the expanse of tall stone and class buildings several flat blocks away. The echo is amazing. The reverberation of the whistles as they reflect from the train to the south off of the city to the north and back creates a cacophony of alert that folds and resonates back onto itself. Being underneath the concrete overpasses, the relation to the noise changes yet again. What is originating from one side is now also raining down from above. It’s an enveloping experience of noise washing over from all sides and all directions. It’s physical as well. Heavy loads and massive amounts of energy roll within feet of living, driving, parking and walking spaces. The physical effects are felt 5 stories up from blocks away. But as the train moves through, the reflection changes in density and time. It takes on different characteristics of the material and orientation of the buildings in relation to the train and to each other. The signature of the location not only being the city but at a particular place within the city adds to the depth and character of the sound. The modulation form capital area, over the river, to the downtown business and entertainment district becomes a performance in which the noise travels and the infrastructure becomes the affecter, shaping the listening experience for anyone willing to listen. It’s a city-specific, urban-centric performance at industrial scale. A noise wandering exploration of the caverns, surfaces, vacancies and occupiers of the space. The need for warnings is an indication of activity. The listening experience is the result of a heard intersection of industry and infrastructure.







All content ©2014 Alex Braidwood unless otherwise stated.


posts
  • In Class Demo
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  • Heritage Listening at BlackContemporary
  • Behind the scenes (well, above the scenes actually) of Heritage Listening @ #BlackContemporary.
  • Objectifying Sound
  • Working w/ Infrastructure 
  • Solar Power. Sound recording. 
  • Secret Spring Break, Formal Danger
  • Sound Art & Graphic Design Adventures in S. Korea
  • Buoy Listen – Chuncheon S. Korea
  • Cassette Player/Recorder Panasonic M8455
  • Stereo Wind Turbines – Spirit Lake, Iowa
  • Bee Hives @ The Prairie Flower
  • Cities & Memory – Oblique Strategies
  • Des Moines NoiseScape @ The Social Club
  • Modified NatureSound & Junction Dam Installation
  • It rains on all the microphones the same
  • Listening Walk – Mt Beauty, Victoria, Australia
  • The return hike
  • Australian Bird Calls @ 0432 347 156
  • Bogong – Final Early Morning Nature Sound Hike
  • Bogong – Installation Prep
  • The experience is the hike and the listening
  • Community Notice Board Intervention
  • Bookmaking Noise at the Country Horse Races
  • New Year’s Day – Australia’s Alpine Nat’l Park – Bogong Village
  • New Year’s Eve – Noise Celebration in Mt Beauty, Victoria, Australia
  • Water is Electricity is Noise
  • Temporary Community in the Alpine Shire
  • Post-interview – 3CR Community Radio, Melbourne
  • Customs and Boarder Patrol
  • Listening at the shore – Venice Beach
  • Comforting water noise in the O’Hare Urban Garden
  • From Memory: A Performative Exploration of Sonifying Solar Wind Data
  • Lake Superior – Grand Island Lakeshore – Stone Quary Cabin
  • Bureau of Infrastructure Tourism Listening Tour
  • Bureau of Infrastructure Tourism – Public Transport and Communication 001
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  • Nature sounds – NoiseScape: Yellowstone – Artist Paint Pots
  • End Transmission @ Tiger Strikes Asteroid
  • Alert Fatigue – process
  • Temporary listening at the making of a Tibetan sand mandala
  • Compositional destruction & different awareness of objects
  • NoiseScape [prototype]
  • Discovering my own totem sounds – fire
  • Grin City Soundscape Performance 2
  • Performance Excerpt – Live @ Relish in Grinnell, IA
  • Sometimes it just feels good to make some fu©king noise
  • Sounding at Relish – Grinnell, IA
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  • Listening to the Farm – Drips, Pens & Tills
  • Listening to the Wind on the Farm
  • Listening on the Farm – high winds & loose roof panels
  • Nature Sound Workshop 2013 – Seattle, WA
  • Diagnostic Listening
  • Audium: A theater of sound-sculpted space
  • Noise to keep us safe
  • Listening Instruments Invention Workshop
  • Listening Instruments Invention Workshop – photos
  • Listening Instruments Workshop Booklet
  • Listening at the Hardware Store
  • Anti-cancellation
  • 503 01 – mr & mrs formalplay collaboration
  • Listening Instruments workshop – warning
  • Warning – Safety Headphone Danger Zone
  • Sonic fictions from powered mobility
  • LEAPstrument Zero1
  • Hunting vs Foraging
  • Active Listening in the Urban Soundscape
  • Listening in the Megacity
  • Kansas City SoundWalk Research & Performance Documentation
  • Listening to the Unwanted, Broadcast from the Desirable
  • Infrastructural Radiations 02013-002-0073
  • The Listening City – Reports from the Noise Camera
  • Dead rat making – Listening at the fabric store
  • Rapport de la Volière Mécanique
  • Dem Noises – Infrastructural Intersections
  • Listening at the Intersection of Infrastructure
  • Écoutant Instruments pour l’écoute
  • Rapport de la route électrique – 02013-01.0001
  • Noise Box
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  • Carte Voliére Mécanique
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  • Mysterious Hums – Collective Listening
  • Carte Voliére Mécanique
  • Rapport de la Volière Mécanique: 02012-03.0002 – Visée #02
  • Carte Voliére Mécanique
  • Listening to Mysterious Hums
  • Carte Voliére Mécanique
  • Rapport de la Volière Mécanique: 02012-02.0022 – Visée #07
  • Carte Voliére Mécanique
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  • Carte Voliére Mécanique
  • Rapport de la Volière Mécanique: 02012-02.0022 Sighting #01
  • Panel – Visualizing the Invisible: The Art of Sound
  • Carte Voliére Mécanique
  • Hum Listener
  • Rapport de la Volière Mécanique: 02012-02.0015 Sighting #09
  • Carte Volière Mécanique
  • Listening to LA on KTLA (the weirdo on the corner)
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  • Visualizing Audio – Commotion – Noise Collage Test 011
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  • Mysterious Hum: Subterranean Descent
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  • Mysterious Hum: 6th Bridge – On & Over
  • Noisolation Headphones on So Cal Public Radio 89.3 KPCC
  • City Sonic – by KPCC
  • Noise Collection Organizational Measure
  • Wander-listen
  • Listening Up: Neighborhood Tumult Meter
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  • New York: Critical Information
  • That time I wore those things and ʍɐs ʇɐɥʇ ɟɟnʇs
  • Asynchronous Collective Residue
  • Thinking about the Walkman® – Shared Listening Experiences
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  • Simulacra-tecture
  • I’m not a Musician
  • Thinking about Mysterious Hums – The Importance of a Source
  • These aren’t your Grandparents’ Orange Groves
  • Noise? Some Ramblings about Discovery & Inspiration
  • Listening in Las Vegas



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