subnet, Austria, September 2020

Austrian arts organisation subnet invited me to participate in their residency programme of 2020, in which they were given spaces and support by Schmiede20 festival in Hallein. The artists studios are spaces in an old salt farm in the village. However, because of many issues brought about by the global pandemic, I was unable to travel to Austria. Kindly the organisations allowed me to work from my home studio, currently in Marseille, France.

By way of keeping abreast of the developments of the project, I kept a blog which can be accessed using the links below:

WEEK ONE          WEEK TWO          WEEK THREE          CONCLUSION(S)

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Introduction

Over the three weeks of the project I adapted a liquid cooling system designed for gaming computers. This is another device I salvaged from the streets of Marseille during lockdown. I have no idea what was wrong with the computer but the whole tower, plus all fans, circuit boards, DVD drive and this cooling system were intact and the mechanisms I can use are all in a good working condition.

Possibly there was a problem with the motherboard? What was missing was the power supply, but as the whole idea of these systems is that everything is replaceable, it's strange that something like this was abandoned in the street. Of course, it could have been stolen but then why only take the power supply? A bit of a mystery...

This project directly followed a short period of reflection and concentration in the village of Clans in the Alpes-Maritimes, France where I managed to work further on my double cassette mechanism, powering it with water sounds.

I was going to begin the process of powering the motors of the cooling system with water sounds from Marseille, but these would be very different from Clans, as I made the project close to the sea as well as the marina, but not close to fast running water. I have no idea what I will capture with regard to underwater sounds in the marina, but that's part of the process when working with hydrophones. It can be likened to fishing, where you really have no idea what you will 'catch', although the act of recording sounds is generally less harmful to wildlife!

The only possible issue with recording sounds around the marina and other sites in Marseille was the sheer amount of tourists in the city at that time. There would undoubtedly be sounds of human activity but I couldn't tell how they would manifest themselves.

I included two more recent photos of the cooling system to show two elements that are going to need attention. The first was the small chamber that would have been attached to the motherboard of the computer. I needed to construct a small platform for it so it sat level, and so I could explore the sound contained within. As I had limited access to a workshop and power tools, I had to be more inventive in my methods.

And then there were the two motors that pump the liquid. These could be quite noisy, which was of course part of the device, but I hoped to find a way to somewhat isolate the sound from the supporting structure I would build to hold the cooling system.