...from a forthcoming work in collaboration with Oliver Jones, directed and edited by Joel Clark...
This is the third iteration of my ongoing work, Composing the Tinnitus Suites, in which I explore the creative potential of my hearing damage. I have tinnitus, which is a ringing in my ears that I hear continually. For this piece I built an installation /instrument, the lady's harp, which consists of aluminum, wood, and piano wire. The harp can be between 10 and 30 feet long, and its strings are never touched by human hands, but “bowed” by feedback. Transducers are built into the strings’ bridges, and the signal of the string amplified and sent into itself—I control the sound by turning knobs on the mixing console.
I want to emphasize that this is NOT an interpretation of the ringing in my ears. In reality, no one else is able to hear my tinnitus, since it is not an acoustic vibration, but a neurological hallucination—the result of my brain attempting to activate my damaged hair cells. Thus, rather than create a representation of my own tinnitus, I want to create a situation where tinnitus can thrive, and coexist as an equal presence alongside the musical content of my installation. I want to create music to accompany the private, unheard tinnitus of each audience member.
This installation was made in collaboration with Oliver Jones, and was installed at Nothing Space gallery in Brooklyn in January 2014. the lady's harp is named in tribute to the phenomenal composers Ellen Fullman and Maryanne Amacher.
video edited by Joel Clark
recording by Zach Dunham
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