Jason Kahn 
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Works for Radio
"Two Flights"

Technique: environmental sound recordings, piezo speakers, amplifiers, cd players

La Casa Encendida
as part of the group exhibition "Arte Sonoro"
Madrid, Spain

April 22–June 13, 2010

For the group exhibition "Arte Sonoro" I was asked to create a piece for two flights of stairs connecting exhibition spaces in the basement and first floor of La Casa Encendida in Madrid. Sixty piezo element speakers installed along the stairs created a field of sound which was impossible to localize. Only when one entered the stairway and spent some time in the space did the the installation start to manifest itself as something subtly intersecting with the space's natural sound environment.

I wanted to work with the idea of a space remembering itself, of these memories casting a sonic shadow over the space, a kind of sonic aura which emphasized the natural sound environment of the stairway. As sound source for the installation I spent several days making recordings in the stairway at all times of the day—from the noisy mornings to late at night when everyone except for myself and the security staff had left the building. In this sense, I thought of the space remembering its time passing and each visitor to the installation partaking in these memories and experiencing the space as it moved through its days and nights. Using these sounds I wanted to emphasize the presence of the space, a presence which most people simply passing between floors of La Casa Encendida might miss.

Through the gentle ebb and flow of the space gradually phasing in and out of itself I wanted to address the questions of how we place ourselves in the continuum of a place, of changing sound filling a space, filling our memories of a space, of the space's memories. How does sound shape our experience of an acoustic space as place?