Feedback Babies is a kinetic sound installation consisting of three Nursery Monitors. The Nursery Monitors in the installation are from the 80’s which gives the installation some kind of retro look. The baby monitor and the receiver are placed in a close distance, about 20 cm, facing each other. This is much closer than you would usually place them and therefore an audio feedback is produced. The receiver makes a slow bowing-like movement by help of a long string attached to a motor.
The generated sound is a high frequency acoustic feedback that sounds like whining babies. Moving closer to the installation, you also hear elements of typical crackling radio noise, which gives you the feeling, at least for a moment, that some kind of connection is established.
Darsha Hewitt is a Montreal based artist working with electronics. For some time she has experimented with radios. It’s not the radio broadcasting itself she’s interested in, but the invisible dimension of technology that the radio can tap into. What fascinates her is how radio signals can be picked up by another radio somewhere else in the world. Lately, she has also worked with old CRT (cathode ray tube) TVs and experiment with static electricity. The cathode ray tube generates static electricity when turned on.
In her installation Electrostatic Bell Choir she uses several CRT TVs. Through a microcontroller, she can turn the TVs on and off in alternating sequences. They are all set to silence and to empty ‘snowy’ channels. In front of each TV she has placed electrostatic bells. The so called Franklin bells were invented by Benjamin Franklin in the 18th century during his experiments with electricity and they indicate electrical charge. When the TV turns on it generates static electricity which makes the bells react and sound. And all together they become a choir.
The Electrostatic Bell Choir will be part of the Electra Festival in Montreal this year, starting 1st of May.
I like the way Darsha Hewitt works. It is very inspiring and experimental and gives (at least me) the desire to explore and play with some electronics; learn and understand more about electronics. As she describes it herself at her website:
I explore the physics of electricity and look for ways I can use it as a raw material.