05.02.15 Interactive sound performance
Atlanta's Cryptophonic Tour by ROAM Transmissions was a single-day sound art event designed as "a sonic exploration of Historic Oakland Cemetery’s unique aural histories". Each of the selected artists was assigned a plot in the cemetery and instructed to create a sound piece inspired by the burial site. The piece would then be played or performed on site during the five hour public self-guided cemetery tour.
I was assigned the plot of a beloved pet mockingbird, Tweet. Following his 1874 passing, Tweet was buried on the Weimer family plot alongside his family. Tweet's headstone is marked with a small carved stone lamb.
In this performance, I assumed the role of a mockingbird for the five hour duration of the event. Just as mockingbirds roam and collect environmental sounds, I traveled through the cemetery with a field recorder and minidisk recorder collecting short snippets of nature sounds, train sounds, unsuspecting conversations, other artists' sound performances, etc. I occasionally inserted recordings of various renditions of a popular 1855 song, Listen to the Mockingbird.
After 30 minutes I returned to the gravesite, where I had arranged 3 chairs for seated listening and triangulated 3 disc players and speakers installed in paper mache and lace eggs. I programed the collected sounds to loop on the speakers, as I continually changed out each disc every half hour for five hours.
The resulting piece at Tweet's gravesite established a 3-way directional sound effect with ever-changing looping samples from the day with an occasional historical song layer. Some visitors heard pieces of their own conversations from an hour ago, while others got a short preview of another installation on the opposite end of the cemetery. Like the songs of a mockingbird, these sounds constantly overlapped and changed as they narrated an exploration of the environment around us.