Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Seven Words: Into Inner and Outer Space

In 2007, I created a series of recordings of spoken word with soundscapes by Robert Fripp (King Crimson), titled: The Seven Words. These works were exhibited in galleries, museums, and festivals, around the world, and were also exhibited in a two part installation.

Part 1: The Inner

The Seven Words was installed in isolation tanks at Blue Light Floatation, in New York, and at The Floatworks, in London.

Participants were able to experience the sound art works in a sensory deprivation environment.

An isolation tank is a lightless, soundproof chamber in which subjects float in salt water heated to skin temperature. They were first used by neuroscientist John C. Lilly, in 1954, to test the effects of sensory deprivation on the brain/mind. While floating the brain slows down into theta waves, the brain wave state of tranquility, creativity and very deep relaxation. Theta brain waves, measured at 4-7 Hz, is the brain state of REM sleep (dreams), hypnosis, lucid dreaming. Theta is the twilight state just before sleeping and just after waking, the border between the conscious and the subconscious world. In this womb-like environ, the music works can, all the more effectively, penetrate and be absorbed, into the substrata of the consciousness of the individual.

Part 2: The Outer

One of the compositions from The Seven Words, Ophiuchus Improvisation / Queer Reflection Harmonic Minor, was transmitted off-world, 3-4 light years into space.

The sound art work was transmitted by a private organization located next the Kennedy Space Center, in Cape Canaveral, Florida. This organization was formed specifically to communicate with outer-space by a group of broadcast engineers that regularly transmit from the space center. The engineers use state of the art satellite broadcasting equipment with high-powered klystron amplifiers connected to a parabolic dish antenna. The Seven Words transmission was carried trillions of miles beyond our solar system, a humanistic gesture towards other worlds and, conceivably, civilizations as yet unknown.