|Singapore Silent Bridges|
ISEA2008: INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON ELECTRONIC ART SINGAPORE
Artist in Residence Juried Exhibition National Museum of Singapore
The artists whose projects were selected have had the opportunity to work intensely for three months as artists in residence in a number of new media and technology labs based at the National University Of Singapore. They have created the artworks within the lab environment, gaining access to advanced technologies and the expertise of researchers. This confluence between art, research, science and technology has opened up many possibilities for further exploration in both of these fields.
The resulting exhibition is an exciting glimpse into the questions and concerns of new media artists in 2008. Eclectic, restless and always surprising, the artworks in AIR take on a wide range of subjects from the refiguring of surveillance; body language and communication; mapping electromagnetic fields; the flow of water and information on the internet; they address civic spaces and the natural environment, along with the immersive qualities of sounds and smells, and much more.
Anyone who has walked along a large bridge will know that bridges make sounds – what we can't hear is the tension of the cables in the atmosphere, which create sonic vibrations across a range of frequencies. Understanding these sounds as a form of music, the artist recorded the song of her first bridge in 1995, and has been engaged with the Singing Bridges project ever since, capturing the unique voices of bridges all over the world. Rose sees each bridge as a musical instrument, and collectively the bridges she has recorded as urban temples, each one an instrument in The Global Bridge Symphony. The culmination of Singing Bridges is the proposed TheGlobal Bridge Symphony, linking together the music of bridges internationally. The artist worked in collaboration with bridge engineers and artists in Singapore using sensor monitoring equipment to explore the technical, philosophical and musical aspects of the cable vibrations through local and global transmissions.
The artist would like to thank Prof. Lawrence Wong and team at NUS Ambient Intelligence Lab; Dr G H Tan (SysEng); Ms Annie Tan (Civil Engineering); Prof. Lim Siak Piang, Prof. Gerard Leng SB, Cheng Kok Seng, (Dynamics Lab); Elizabeth Taylor (MMRL); Derek Holzer, Darren Ng, Mika Meskanen, Joel Ong, Nick Wishart.
Jodi Rose (Australia/Germany) is a sound artist, writer, broadcaster and composer, working collaboratively to produce experimental music, radio, public and sonic art events towards the Global Bridge Symphony.
The research and development time with ISEA and the Ambient Intelligence Lab gave me the chance to test many bridges in Singapore for their sound, only to find that they had minimal audible vibration.
After lining up the most ambitious site visit yet - sixteen engineers on the bridge - with structural vibration monitoring specialists from the National University of Singapore, the head engineer from the building company who constructed the bridge, representatives from SingTel communications there to test the 3G signal, the PR manager from Keppel Bay marina, and two enthusiastic research assistants, the only trouble was getting close enough to hear the cables to sing! We had to arrange for a crane to lift the cable sheathing, in order to access the vibrations inside, however this turned out to be problematic as no-one agreed to pay for the equipment and labour; and the restaurants on the island were unhappy with their only access road being closed for a few hours. I met with Dr Tan, whose company specialise in monitoring structural vibration and could have offered a solution with their sensor array to live database set-up, however interested he was in the bridge symphony, his clients data security took first priority. I attempted to access the accelerometers from the university in order to test these on the bridge, however it was unexpectedly complicated to take them off the premises, or convince any of the engineers of how effective my plan was to take their signal out as audio. I know this can be done, it's built into the Eleanor Schonell Bridge as a permanent sound installation in Brisbane, however every time I talk with an engineer I need to cover the same ground as the language we use is not the same. Although I try to learn the technical jargon, and know precisely how to implement and arrange for this adaptation of sensors to take place, it's harder than you may imagine to actually bring it out into the field - or onto the bridge - with a live analogue sound from the data source. One day I will have access to the budget and precise technical support required, until then lets keep improvising the best we can...
How many engineers does it take for a bridge in Singapore to sing? Keppel Bay site visit, 2008
Eventually, the work became a monitoring station of anonymous looking roadside signal boxes, with a 7" video player installed and speakers on either side of each cabinet. These formed a corridor along the entrance to the exhibition at the National Museum, representing various parts of the Global Bridge Symphony, from the concept to mythology. We didn't quite manage a live signal, after testing every bridge in Singapore - as even with the best will and the most equipment we could access, the only bridge with any sound turned out to be the squeaky walkway near the pink dolphin lagoon on Sentosa Island. My work became a meditation to lack of signal, mixed with a poetic personal response to the place... A wonderful local film maker Brian Gothong Tan agreed to help with the performance video and my lovely performance artist friend made a very moving and personal interpretation of the simple directions: walk across a bridge and connect or don't connect with the person crossing opposite you. I created a coloured light installation on the bridge and we filmed one evening in a few takes. The sound compositions were created afterwards and given to the film maker to edit with the images.
BRIDGE PERFORMANCE - MYTH
Separated forever by the Milky Way, the lovers can only be together for a single night. On the seventh night of the seventh moon, all the magpies in the world fly up into heaven to form a bridge. When the lovers meet on the magpie bridge, their tears of joy fall down from the sky.
Niu Lang and Zhi Nü
RADIO APOREE GLOBAL BRIDGE SOUND MAPS
The bridge is a location. As such a thing, it allows a space into which earth and heaven, divinities and mortals are admitted. The space allowed by the bridge contains many places variously near or far from the bridge.
Martin Heidegger- Building, Dwelling, Thinking
radio aporee ::: maps is a project about the exploration and reoccupation of our living spaces. Collecting audible material (recordings, sounds, spoken words) by upload and phone call, it connects them to the surface of google maps.
Idea, concept, realisation: udo noll 2006 –2008
BRIDGE WEBCAM + SOUND
“As harps for the winds of heaven
My weblike cables are spun.”
Joseph B. Strauss, Chief Engineer Golden Gate Bridge (1937)
To Brooklyn Bridge
Through the bound cable strands, the arching path
Hart Crane 1930
Images from Replot Bridge Webcam, Swedish Polytechnic, Finland
VIDEO/AUDIO PERFORMANCE MAL AU PIXEL, PARIS
The bridge that reeled beyond him seemed an arbiter. It bound the city. It must know the city’s soul since it was so close to the city’s breath. In its throbbing cables there must be a message. Waldo Frank 1917
The most beautiful bridge in the world.
So pure, so resolute, so regular that here, finally, steel architecture seems to laugh. Le Corbusier
Performance at Mal au Pixel Festival of Electronic Arts, Paris May 2008
YroYto (Explosive TV) with video Luka Dekleva
Streaming assisted and supported by laboiteblanche
C'mon Art Bridge, make some noise! Joel testing the bridge structure for sound...
BRIDGE PERFORMANCE – CONTEMPORARY
The transmission of message, of code, of signal, is volatile. We are living in the volatile transmission. All points can be connected to all other points.
Either I am submerged in signal exchange or I observe the global set of exchanges. Noise, disorder, and chaos on one side; complexity, arrangement, and distribution on the other.
N.L. and Z.N.