David Cunningham
The Listening Room
4th October - 15th November 2008



Installation Notebook

Saturday 4 October 2008:

A lot of visitors to the opening last night - the installation responded by becoming increasingly silent as the mass of bodies and volume of conversation increased.  At some point one of the amplifiers somehow got switched off which didn't help.  Despite this - a fine evening.

The level of sound in the room at the opening was roughly equivalent to the industrial vacuum cleaner which was used to clean up today.

Friday 3 October 2008:
Opening tonight.

audio fragment
a moment from the installation in progress
the firecrackers are being set off by children outside 
Thursday 2 October 2008:
Final fixing of cabling and tidying up a day ahead of schedule. With the exception of Stairwell this space has been the fastest installation of the series, the two principle reasons being the assistance of Benjamin, Stephane, Adrien and Jeanne of 1m3 and how the reflective nature of the gallery fits neatly with the work.  The microphones are below the tables and the relationship of the resultant sound to room resonance is deliberately altered by this placement.  Resonance in this space is complex anyway, walls are not regular - because part of the gallery building is an office behind a wood partition the visual sound/space correlation does not apply as directly as in previous versions of The Listening Room although the basic principle of correlation of sound and space is still apparent.  This is also why the sound tends more towards medium/high pitches, low notes refer to a different space, the frame of the building.
1m3 people and curators
In the picture, Michèle Didier, publisher of the On Kawara edition and Mathieu Copeland with Benjamin Valenza, Jeanne Graff and Stephane Barbier Bouvet of 1m3.  The missing member of the 1m3 team, Adrien Missika wasn't in today.

Another component of this exhibition, Charlemagne Palestine's Radio Palestine is playing gently in the background.

Wednesday 1 October 2008:
The initial positioning of speakers in the space proved to be a good intuitive choice - after a series of explorations of alternate positions I returned to the initial placement.  Now everything is fully wired up and working it appears that movement just about anywhere in the space produces a rich harmonic response from the feedback system.  Fine-tuning the microphone placement was the last stage, currently the room is ringing like a bell and the sun is shining.

One problem I anticipated is the opening - how the acoustic balance will shift with a lot of people in the space.  An initial consideration was to set the basic installation and then increase the tolerance, (the noise gate threshold setting) for the opening.  On the evidence of the behaviour of the installation today accompanied by hammering and other work I'm inclined to think it will survive ok.

installing with sunshine
Tuesday 30 September 2008:
Installation begins - a basic technical test of the system in the space.  Speakers positioned fairly randomly, keeping out of the way of the assembly and positioning of the On Kawara work.
Then off in the evening to hear Charlemagne Palestine rehearsing on church organ.  Absolutely unique, I've never heard an organ sound quite like this - recognizably the conventional instrument but Charlemagne's handling of the relationship of the instrument to the space in which it is built produces something I couldn't have anticipated.

Later in the evening I was handed a CD of Novembre - my contribution to the catalogue for L'Exposition Continue, a 59 minute continuous overlay of shifting loops of guitar notes recorded during preparation for a performance at Ikon Gallery Birmingham for the initial opening of On Kawara's touring exhibition "Consciousness. Meditation. Watcher on the Hills" in November 2002.

novembre CD
Tuesday 16 September 2008:
Equipment testing in London, delayed by a series of local power cuts.
 test in London
Saturday 24 November 2007:
Initial visit to the 1m3space.  Promising.  Lots of tiles, hard surfaces and a couple of windows looking out onto a Lausanne street.  The decision is to have the work co-existing in the same space as On Kawara's 'One Million Years'.  In the past I've resisted sharing a space with visual work but 'One Million Years' occupies a number of territories beyond the simply visual so I'm interested in both how the focus of the viewer will shift and how this may allow me to work with a different pattern of  movement of people visiting the space, a focus around the On Kawara work.

1m3 space

The Listening Room, Lausanne