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© 2020 Steve Rowell
In Collaboration With SIMPARCH
Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center For Contemporary Art
Cincinnati, OH, May - October 2006
The sound composition, Tactile Air 1, combines sonic booms from the Sonic Boom Archive project with captured audio streams from the early days of the conflict in Iraq in March of 2003. This provided a sonic overlay to SIMPARCH's stealth bomber shaped drop ceiling installation. Physically, Tactile Air is integrated into the installation as eight ceiling-mounted speakers and four subwoofers. Representing a distillation of the "shock and awe" phase of the war, the composition combines recordings from a CBS News webcam that had been mounted on a balcony of the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad. This aspect of the piece included pre-bombing sounds of Baghdad traffic and calls to prayer with air-raid sirens and explosions, as well as post-bombing sounds of generators, sporadic gunfire, and direct-feed, candid reporter banter, unintended for broadcast. Occasional distant sonic booms from the comparatively calm skies of Southern California provide a reminder of our own militarized airspace in America. In addition, a live feature of this installation consisted of Google news emails triggered by keywords (bomb, Iraq, terror). The automated delivery of these emails produced brief audio samples (bomb explosions, sonic booms, calls to prayer) that would interrupt the composed audio with real-time events from the war/media space outside of the museum walls. During the six-month installation of Gloom and Doom 1, more than 3,000 news alert sounds were triggered, without the direct intervention of the artist.
Gloom & Doom I, Tactile Air 1 is a component of my Sonic Boom Archive project