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Washing machine concerto for vocals in 29 parts

Washing machine concerto for vocals in 29 parts


Media: CD, CD changing system

Taryn Takahashi and Hyo Myoung Kim’s practices are united by obsessive process based logic. Hyo Myoung Kim frequently uses high tech process such as 3D modelling programmes, digital photo and video editing, whereas Takahashi’s approach is low fidelity, utilising hole punches, pencils and felt tips. Washing machine concerto for vocals in 29 parts sees their concerns married in the production of this conceptually elegant sound work and sculpture.


For the collaborative process they elected to work primarily with sound; a medium that was unfamiliar to both. Their starting point was almost arbitrary, but due to their interest in the mechanical, they selected to begin with the recording of a washing machine. Hyo Myoung Kim recorded the sounds made by a washing machine during one cycle of wash, from beginning to end. This was passed on to Takahashi, who mimicked the noises made by the machine with her own voice for the full 82 minutes of the cycle in one sitting. The recorded results typify Takashi’s labour intensive approach. Using digital sound editing software, Hyo Myoung then cut up Takahashi’s recording and played both halves simultaneously ‘folding’ the sound over itself as one would fold a sheet of paper in half. This simple process was repeated until the audio editing software could divide the sound no further, having reached the lowest limit or shortest sound sample it could process. (The program couldn't divide after 28 divisions.) In graphic terms this could be described as ‘folding’ the sound down to the equivalent of 1 pixel. Each of these digital folds, including Taryn Takahashi’s original soundtrack are burned onto 29 CDs and contained in a juke box that sits in the corner of the gallery. The CD’s are stacked in ascending order, with the original vocal recording at the bottom and a blank CD on the top. The machine selects and plays from these randomly and continuously.


The transformation of the original recorded sound has come full circle, from mechanical noise to human voice, broken down mechanically into its digital units or building blocks. The resulting cacophony is a relentless combination of pure noise with the haunting trace of its human origins fading in and out of audibility.

Text written by Nick Kaplony

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