The following is a text accompanying the sound installation InterZone Transfer (Rome/Peru) displayed at Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco in March 1995.
InterZone Transfer (Rome/Peru) is one of a series of audio installations, which form a critique of the mythological and nostalgic use we make of recorded natural environments. In each installation a linear space is defined by the interpenetration of two recorded sound environments. All the InterZone Transfer environments are defined by two environmental recordings which form a dichotomy along one or more axes: wet/dry, urban/rural, tropical/arctic, human/nonhuman. In moving along the length of the installation, one moves from one space to the other: the manner of one's going however, is not as simple as fading or mixing from one to the other.
Each environment explores a particular style of moving or "morphing" between the sound, which defines an "Interzone" made up of elements of both environments. Sounds heard in the Interzone are computer processed combinations of the two source environmental recordings, and are always an abstracted electronic sound environment, in which there is no representation. The experience of listening to this non-representational complex sound built from the component environmental recordings transforms our ways of hearing the unprocessed recordings. Through embedding nature recordings in a thoroughly artificial context, we are able to hear them in a new way, freed of their function as representations of anything, and revealing more clearly their nature as a peculiar cultural artifact.
In this version (Rome/Peru), you are lead from a representation of where you are-- an urban, indoor, public space, perhaps full of concertgoers--through the electronic interzone, to the upper sound environment, a recording of the peruvian rain forest. It's interesting, to my ears at least, that after being prepared by the experience of the frankly fake and noisy interzone, the rain forest recording is almost completely non-functional as a representation of anything: it too is revealed clearly as the hissing and jangling of a cheap loudspeaker, and has been stripped of its mythological content.
The source recordings were made by Philip Perkins and used with his permission. The electronic interzone material was processed from the source recordings by computer programs of my own design.