speaker, microphone, feedback, projection
Video documentation by Tim Bruniges
Exhibited at Big Law Country Club, NY
11th - 20th October, 2013
Text by Dana Kopel
Big Law Country Club at the Silent Barn presents the solo exhibition Oscillator by Tim Bruniges. The pop-up exhibition features a single new work, also entitled Oscillator (2013), an installation comprising a speaker, a microphone, feedback and a projection. The installation, visually reductive yet conceptually complex, delineates a perpetual cycle of the physical movement of sound and, more broadly, of information.
The small black speaker, situated on the gallery floor, emits an inaudible tone; directly above it, a microphone hanging from the ceiling picks up the tone and carries it back to the speaker, which continues to emit the silent sound in a feedback loop of infinite duration. The tone produced vibrates at a frequency of about 20 Hz, below the threshold of what human ears can perceive—so that sound is being produced, but gallery visitors are not able to hear it. Rather, the sound is seen: the speaker pulses visibly (though this is only apparent from quite close-up) with the physical vibrations of the tone passing through it. A faint, slightly pulsing white circle is projected on the gallery’s back wall, its small shifts modulated by the sound produced in the feedback loop. The projection—a minimal field of light barely visible against the white wall behind it—creates parallel relationships between sound and image, image and viewer, one attempting to modulate or process the other.
Like much of Bruniges’ practice, Oscillator employs technological systems not as an end in themselves but as a means of investigating the processes and limits of human perception and the ways we process information. The title, Oscillator, not only refers to sonic systems, but also suggests a sense of movement and balance between two poles. The work, in a sense, is about thresholds—the excess of all possible information against the simplification of that information into something concise, refined, and the thresholds where one almost spills into the other.