UNSTABLE MONUMENTS- LOCKDOWN CELL

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An immer­sive pre-ren­o­va­tion exhi­bi­tion in the icon­ic regency courts and cells of Bridewell Street. Read more about the project here: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/unstable-monuments-bristol

'The Lockdown cell' was the name for the project I created as part of an artist collective called Unstable Monuments that had the ambitious project to take over the Old Bristol Crown Courts in the UK. Before the building revocation started, I had the unique opportunity to work in the historic building cells. The space was a small cell where I gave myself the challenge to create an interactive installation. I made an audio/visual installation. In the building, I had to think about sound. I immediately had a problem working in a small room with equipment so close together in the planning stages. My exhibition was a great addition to the project on the unstable monuments where there were more than 30 artists with artwork/exhibitions and on the floor of the cells; the eerie sound of my show created a unique atmosphere to the experience. 


 

The feedback sound was in mono and came out of the left speaker. It was positioned facing the cell wall, intentionally reflected around the cell's walls, and facing away from the cell opposite. The sounds created by my exhibition travelled around the whole floor of the basement of the Old Bristol Courts. The Venue was very dark and eerie and was a maze to walk around without getting lost; with this in mind, I felt like the constant droning worked well in the space. It felt like the sound was pulling people to follow and seek out the sound, resulting in more people visiting my exhibition. The sound of my exhibition was a great addition to the project of the Unstable Monuments, especially on the floor of the cells; the eerie sound of my show set a unique atmosphere. Giving the participants something to listen to without interfering with the other artists with artwork/exhibitions.


 

Working with feedback was something new to me. Making the feedback have a bit of variety and be less tedious to listen to. To added variety to modulate the sound at a low rate giving the sound a break into silence for a second. To provide the feedback with some character, I used the creative plugin chain Serum FX with a Hyper effect (phase/voices/detuning based effect). A Diode Distortion to overdrive the sound, adding unique electrical sounding characteristics. A reverb was used to wash the sound from being so sharp. And an EQ to cut off the High frequencies entirely so the feedback could be listenable. Also, I used to put an adaptive limiter on to stop the signal from clipping. And Bitcrusher was also slightly used to reduce the signal's resolution to be a bit crispier. This can be seen in Figures 1 and 2.

 

An intriguing, unexpected result from my installation the feedback tone kept changing by itself, switching between 2 tones. I later learnt this was a result of the resonance of the room.

 

The feedback sound was in mono and came out of the left speaker. It was positioned facing the cell wall, intentionally reflected around the cell's walls. The constant droning worked well in the space. The sounds coming out of my cell travelled around the whole floor of the basement of the Old Bristol Courts. It felt like it was pulling people to follow and seek out the sound, bringing more people to my exhibition. 

 

A Live Mic was used to give to make the installation an interactive installation. Where spectators' voices, so the NT5 microphone was a good choice. The microphone was not labelled with instructions to speak into it. Not labelling, it arguably added exhibition by adding a sense of curiosity as part of the experience. The same channel effects were duplicated from the feedback channel and used on the Mic input channel seen in figure one. With a slight EQ to enhance the voice of the person who spoke into the Mic. The plugins then created characteristics created of something very alien-like that was unnatural, something the audience may not have experienced before, let alone may never speak in front of a microphone before. This made the voices more fun and interactive and jelled pieces of sound combined with the feedback. Therefore, helping it sound like a solid composition that the audience could interact with. 

 

The voices sounded characteristic, harsh and non-human-like. These oblique sounds created individual interactions with the exhibition, where spectators made monkey-like vocal sounds like "oooo" seen by the participant in the video. The audience was then seen interacting more and more, having fun, and at times it felt like they were interacting so much that it was addictive. Listening to these noises from far away from the cell was interesting. It added something to the ghostly, spooky feeling of being in the historic building that is old abandoned court rooms and police cells. Throughout the exhibition, before and after, I was given great feedback by many of the audience and other artists. It is something I am hugely proud of and have added to my website portfolio.

 

I used this specific microphone, NT5 RØde, a mic typically designed for critical recording applications. This Mic choice was purposely because the cell opposite me; had another artist with an exhibition that featured a talking that kept looping through a speaker. The NT5 was a pre-planned mic choice. Because if I were to use a wide-diaphragm condenser mic, it would have picked up too many sounds like footsteps and people talking, and the piece may have got a bit messy. And the looping sound would have always been picked up.

USM Feedback Recorded Example
00:00 / 03:00