Steve Rowell


In collaboration with SIMPARCH

Custom built sound installation for a sound art group exhibit titled, The Marfa Sessions, a 1970s travel trailer was refurbished as an anechoic (without echo) chamber in order to listen to an audio work by Steve Rowell in the high desert town of Marfa, Texas

The Marfa Sessions, Ballroom Marfa, Marfa, 2008

Steve Rowell and SIMPARCH

Trailer home, anechoic chamber (office carpet, carpet padding, acoustic foam baffles, LED lights), audio and electronic equipment

Audio program duration is 30 minutes and repeats at the top and bottom of the hour. This installation is designed for one person at a time. Isolation and external sensory deprivation is best achieved with the door closed. Please allow a minimum of 5 minutes for pupil dilation to perceive the dimly lit interior.

Included in the audio program are field recordings from:

  • The Harper Dry Lake area in the Mojave desert beneath the R-2508 Special Use Airspace Complex (restricted military airspace and supersonic corridor) - 2006-07 Hinkley, CA
  • Various sites - Sep 2008 Marfa, TX
  • Sam's Club - Sep 2008 El Paso, TX
  • Teufelsberg US NSA listening post (ruin) - July 2008 Berlin, Germany
  • RAF (NRO,NGA,NSA) Menwith Hill NSA listening post (active) - Nov 2007 North Yorkshire, UK
  • RAF (USAF) Fylingdales BMEWS satellite radar installation - June 2008 North Yorkshire, UK
  • RAF (USAF) Lakenheath airbase - Mar 2008 Suffolk, UK
  • Kielder Forest and Water - Nov 2007 Northumberland, UK
  • AM and Shortwave radio recordings from the Voice of Russia (english edition) - July 2008 Berlin, Germany

Playback and listening note: This recording includes frequencies below the threshold of human hearing and are intended to be played back with equipment capable of infrasound vibrations down to 18Hz. Since most headphones and speakers are limited to 40-50 Hz precautions should be taken to avoid damage to equipment. Moderate playback levels with headphones are the best way to listen to this material outside of the installation. Hiss and noises are intentional as artifacts from remote location (unmanned) recording sessions and actual noises (sonic boom over-modulation, wind, electrical interferences at radar sites, etc.) and should be considered signal, not noise.