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by Mike Bullock

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Whip-poor-will was premiered in two cities at once on Wednesday 19 April 2023: In Brooklyn NY, at 411 Kent; and in Boston MA as an installation at the Waterworks Museum, as part of the Non-Event Festival.

From the description on the Non-Event site:

Whip-poor-will is part of a series of pieces called Ephemerospheres: the spheres of temporary, fragile, non-human sound that occur outside of, and on the fringes of, human perception. Immersive storms of sound you can’t hear or don’t notice, that come and go in the course of a few weeks or a few hours. Whip-poor-will starts, as its source, with several ephemeral sound spheres of early summer in New England: the endangered little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus), who echolocates at 110 dB while foraging insects; several amphibians who are only heard for a few weeks in spring and summer, including the wood frog and spring peeper; and the whip-poor-will, a bird who sings only at night, but so continuously that the cessation of their onomatopoeic song makes your ears prick up.

Nature sound recording is often called an act of capture, invoking histories of colonization and resource abuse - historispheres that are sometimes invisible, sometimes censored, but not ephemeral. They endure and infect the spheres of the real, of ecologies and societies, of how we speak and how we understand, or resist understanding.

But “capture” is misleading: sound cannot be forced to hold still. Recording is an act of writing; a sound recording device is writing a story (in magnetism or math) of what the microphone hears, a story that it can read back aloud through a speaker. Making sounds by hand that parallel these stories (with instruments, objects, voice) can be an act of drawing; so Whip-poor-will also includes some of these sound drawings to accompany the story, all of them written and re-written through digital means, then spoken aloud through self-made loudspeakers. The speakers used in this installation are the same ones I originally made for my Wave Field Synthesis array, but with flexible application in mind.


released May 9, 2023

Thanks to Adam Kohl, Erin Ruggiano, Susanna Bolle, and Daniel Neumann




Mike Bullock Massachusetts

Mike Bullock is a composer, sound artist, and field recordist.

hello@: https://hello- at.bandcamp.com

Bullock has been performing since the mid 90s at venues across the US and in Europe. He is also an Ambassador for The Kingdoms of Elgaland-Vargaland [KREV]
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