A question of permanence

Installation commissioned by Unexpected Outcomes for the Ringling Museum and the Transient Landscapes Festival, Sarasota, Florida, October 19-20, 2018.

Six stations, arranged to form a small, imagined coastline.

Six speakers, assembled from large plywood sheets prepared with transducers. We listen through this material, which protects us and our homes during stormy times, and makes audible that which might threaten it.

Each sheet boards up a snare drum, also prepared with a transducer.

Cracking, rattling, and scraping sounds, produced by dragging the head of a broom over a different plywood sheet, breaking this sheet into small particles, and jostling the leftover bits. 

These sounds vibrate the drums and plywood directly, allowing us to hear the sound of each sheet’s metaphorical breakdown.

The sound at each station changes volume and speed according to survey data recording coastal erosion at six locations on Longboat and Lido Keys, manmade barrier islands that shield Sarasota and the Ringling from the Gulf of Mexico. These accelerate and crescendo in response both to this changing information and to a projected six feet of overall sea level rise by the year 2100, which will put much of the site and city underwater.

As we listen, we become aware that our seemingly static surroundings are changing, implacably, at scale and speed too slow and large to be grasped by an individual at an instant.

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