Fluorescent lights, pirate AM radio with audio broadcast, polypropylene, water in absence and presence, 120 current electricity, ionosphere, resonant space.
Radio assistance: Michael Mersereau
Single-channel video with stereo sound, 2:08 min
Audio mastering: Thomas Dimuzio
ALBEDO is a solo exhibition that transforms a gallery space historically a mortuary through a light and sound installation of fluorescent lights, pirate radio transmitting the Farsi alphabet, and radio waves that amplify the sound of electricity, and agricultural water containers. Situating the site's history as a portal to explore relationships between interment and frequency, the work touches upon larger themes such as slow violence through ubiquitous material. The objects in ALBEDO represent different systems of labor: agricultural, industrial, and energy. Delivery of communication alternates between inhibition and stimulation, whereas currents (water, electricity, aether) are congruous to our bodies. Also included is an apocryphal video that translates local stories about a bird into statements from a historical text.
Frequency interference of fluorescent lights amplifies the frequencies surrounding us via radio. The sounds are audible through the resonant properties of 3 large agricultural water containers. From a distance, visitors hear ALBEDO as transduced from these containers, and up close, visitors are welcome to place their ears upon the containers and feel the frequencies and the multitude of voices contained in a single chant.
Edward Said mentions the importance of interrogating "the normalized quiet of unseen power." Just like whiteness, the most violent systems are those which are rendered to be invisible. If invisibility is the quality of not being seen, then the significance of something may be flooded to render or suggest transformation. One can think of this as noise to signal or violence rendered invisible through ubiquitous means. Plastic and fluorescent lights, including led lights created in their lineage, are ubiquitous in our environment, offering a shadowless interment. Introduced during WW2 as an emergency feature to keep factories running 24/7, engineering of the lights was previously accelerated for inclusion in the World Fair of 1938. Often, wartime developments become ubiquitous in residential, commercial, and educational uses.
ALBEDO is a collaboration with the history of the building (766 Valencia was once a mortuary) and site (the Mission District was once awash in neon lights), the ionosphere, and the many traveling voices that have yet to reach.
*Albedo is a unitless measure that indicates a surface or body's diffuse reflectivity of light, defined as "the ratio of diffusely reflected to incident electromagnetic radiation.”
Exhibition: May 21 - June 25, 2022
Location: Incline Gallery
Performance, June 17, 7 - 9 pm
Opening Reception: May 21, 1 - 6 pm
photographic documentation by Jorge Bachmann
video documentation by Beth Pielert