[ISEA2022] Artist Talk: Brian House — Macrophones: Listening to the Climate Crisis via Atmospheric Infrasound

Artist Statement 

June 10, Remote Artist talk. Session: Creative process, performative expression and perception of reality

Keywords: sound art, infrasound, climate crisis, artistic research, mediation

The sounds of brewing storms, heavy industry, calving icebergs, and crumbling infrastructure are the sounds of the climate crisis, but they are normally too distant and too low-frequency to hear. Macrophones, a site-specific sound art installation, makes them audible.

A microphone is a device used to amplify small sounds, but what I call a macrophone brings very large sounds -aka infrasound- into our perceptual range. Normally too low-frequency to hear, infrasound travels vast distances through the atmosphere, even across the globe. It comes from superstorms, heavy industry, wildfires, calving icebergs, HVAC systems at massive data centers, avalanches, and even police weaponry. Big phenomena like these are entangled with the climate crisis, which is difficult to perceive directly on a planetary scale. And yet this crisis continually makes sound—what can we hear when we’re able to listen to it from where we stand?

For the video recording of the talk see: Amalia Creus — Intro and video: Creative process, performative expression and perception of reality

  • Brian House is an artist who investigates the rhythms of human and nonhuman systems. Through sound, custom technology, and multidisciplinary research, he makes our interdependencies audible in order to imagine new political realities. House has exhibited at MoMA, Los Angeles MOCA, Ars Electronica, ZKM Center for Art and Media, Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center, and Eyebeam, among others. The New York Times Magazine, WIRED, The Guardian, and TIME’s annual “Best Inventions” issue have featured his work, and his academic writing has been published in Leonardo, Journal of Sonic Studies, and e-flux Architecture. House holds a PhD in Computer Music from Brown University, was Associate Research Scholar at Columbia University’s Center for Spatial Research, and is currently Assistant Professor of Art at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, USA. https://brianhouse.net