Miloš Vojtěchovský: What's Inside the Wires
ÚstřednaFoto: Lucie Maxová
rAdioCUSTICA selected 2008 | 20:05
What's Inside the Wires
Although it is a totally childish and everyday thing, it still seems unbelievable to me that you put a box to your ear and you can suddenly hear someone who is, for example, in Pardubice or on the other side of the planet. How is it possible for the uttered syllables to travel faster than sound to such remote places? Do they fly inside or on the wires?
I wonder how our words and voices are changed in our wired-up world.... In fact, I realize that today I am a man of yesterday and that mankind is unstoppably and thunderously and gracefully entering the wireless world. In the past few years mobile phones have become a usual way of conversation, an article of communication clothing. Both people settled on all continents and sailing on the oceans sit, drive, walk and eat with mobile phones held to their heads. We don't think it queer when someone is talking to himself with a tiny behind-the-ear earring on their head. The metal age is coming to an end, and another age is beginning - wireless, controlled by remote controls and radar umbrellas.
Roaming, antennas and satellites cruising soundlessly somewhere high above our heads connect us to the whole world by an invisible web. This time without copper, submarine lines, porcelain sculptures, endless lines of trees changed into wooden posts and leading from one horizon to another.
The gently resonating wires, vibrating with the electric impulse of flying sound, end up in scrap-yards.
But what if these telephone wires, taken to scrap-yards, were able to record, non-physically, non-magnetically, the remains of all those words, sentences and cries that passed through them throughout the years?
This sound essay tries to capture the nature of the telecommunication acoustic area chimed by mechanical tools and interwoven by shards of telephone language modulated by the telephone membrane, receiver, and microphone. The waves of a language without speech intersect each other and disappear into eternity. They whirl around in dark space on the synopsis of chaotic murmur and are stored in the sparks of pre-electronic memory. They lack meaning. They are like sound flashes, spots passing by a passenger behind a train window going through a dark sound tunnel that I sometimes dream about at night.
I like to use found and thrown-away materials. Most voice data lives archived somewhere on remote servers. It can be found, reached, pulled out, and it is possible to listen to it by means of the Internet and computer, and to place it in a different context.
The acoustic environment into which I put the voice data is a recording of a live show with music played on pot lids and tuners that took place in the Museum of Czech Music in Prague's Lesser Quarter. Fourteen amateur players standing on the ambits of the nave of a former church chimed, in a harmonic fashion, aluminium discs invented by a musician and constructor, Dan Senn, from the United States, in Petr Nikl's installation called Obraz světa (The Picture of the World) - Orbis pictus.
There is a dimly lit turning appearing in the distance, then another turning and another one all the way to infinity. Behind a wall there is some murmur of incomprehensible words that were once run through metal, a dialogue between a father and his daughter, somebody calling unknown numbers disconcerting the called parties, voices of unknown people change into the voices of a flock of birds.