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Mobius Fields (Montréal)
6:06 | Stereo Audio for Headphones

Available on "Interpreting the Soundscape" curated by Peter Cusack

in MIT's Leonardo Music Journal. Vol. 16. "Noise Off: Sound Beyond Music"



« Architecture is appreciated while on the move. »

Le Corbusier


« Music is thus no longer limited to musicians to the extent that sound is not its exclusive and fundamental element.   Its element is all the non-sound forces that the sound material elaborated by the composer will make perceptible, in such a way that we can even perceive the differences between these forces, the entire differential play of these forces.   We are all faced with somewhat similar tasks. …philosophers are increasingly seeking to elaborate a very complex material of thought to make sensible forces that are not thinkable in themselves. »

Gilles Deleuze. “Making Inaudible Forces Audible”   Two Regimes of Madness .



“Sonification” is a technique where sound is created from nonvibrational events.   While Deleuze is referring to composers manifesting duration as a sound material (a common interest in the 20 th century), in the 21 C the field has expanded beyond this age old theme of music.   Source for sound work ranges from transcoding of digital images, camera vision of body gestures, astrological data, random information in bit form, and the list goes on.  

Möbius Fields arises, as its name suggests, from questions about fields.   How is a sense of space created or experienced as a field?   While we often use the word soundfield to denote a soundscape (to use the term first coined by R, Murray Schafer), sound does not exactly follow the field theory described by Maxwell and Faraday.   Möbius Fields relates soundfields and electromagnetism as one process, which is now commonplace since the 20 th century's blurring of instrument and media.  While this is the normal understanding in what has officially been deemed by the institution as electro-acoustics, the intention of Möbius Fields is not to look at the transformation between analog-to-digital per se, but rather to present these fields as parallel cosmos that bleed into each other.   It was important to explore this idea while moving through the fields, and not just flipping a different lens from a fixed position.   The idea is to search for a “wormhole” in the curved space between sound and electromagnetic fields.   The mathematical term for field is K, which is derived from the German word Körper , German jargon for field.   It directly translate as “body” and I was particularly interested in the body moving through various fields and hearing the result: “A Field, a heterogeneous smooth space, is wedded to a very particular type of multiplicity: nonmetric, acentered, rhizomatic multiplicities that occupy space without ‘counting' it and can ‘be explored only by legwork.'   They do not meet the visual condition of being observable from a point in space external to them; an example of this is the system of sounds or even of colors, as opposed to Euclidean space” (Deleuze and Guattari).  

What about a möbius configuration of sound and electromagnetic fields?

Using the structure of a möbius loop, this soundwalk travels from Montréal's Oboro media arts centre to Jean-Talon Market—and back again.   Traveling there I used a M-S microphone recording the stereo soundfield we normally perceive consciously with our ears.   Traveling back I took the same route and recorded many of the same events/objects but instead used a mono electromagnetic microphone to record the electromagnetic fields.   The transition from one side of listening to the other occurs at 3:13 where the recording transitions from the acoustic mic to the electromagnetic mic while listening to the same space.   This "twist" from acoustic to electromagnetic coincides with the involution of an exterior sense of space to an interior soundfield located within the cranial cavity.   Like all of the works in the Möbius series, the spatial characteristics of the recording are designed specifically for headphone listening.   All field recordings were made in one continuous trip.