BlackMountainRed is a minimalist multimedia piece referencing Belfast’s panoptic radio mast that towers above the city.
The sound in the piece is a simple count that has been heavily treated to give the sense of receiving a ‘number station’. Number stations are global shortwave radio broadcasts that contain repeated strings of numbers or simple melodies. The stations are of unknown origin but are mostly considered to be military frequency markers or communications.
Whilst the work stands alone in a gallery using a single repetitive voice broadcast, visitors are encouraged to interact with the piece through their smartphones by randomly select one of several additional multimedia components through the work’s online web presence.
The additional elements of the work introduce a tonal and rhythmic relationship between the audio sources. Steve Reich refers to this shifting relationship as ‘phasing’. The greater the number of sources, the more complex the rhythmic soup.
Whilst the concept of rhythmic phasing is far from new, the originality in the work comes from the use of online components and the random nature of visitor numbers, start point and multiple audio options.
The randomised online elements are available anytime, you just need a smartphone or any computer. You will be able to experience this rhythmic phasing effect and see the BlackMountainRed lights.
Experience BlackMountainRed lite*
*It is only through formal gallery installation that the piece may be considered as resolved.