THE SCATTERING
2003


Shortwave
Composed by John Duncan and Peter Fleur
Processed and mixed at Scrutto by John Duncan and in Amsterdam by Peter Fleur
AGGREGATE mastered in Amsterdam by Peter Fleur
THRESHOLD mastered at Scrutto by John Duncan
CD released by edition ...
xxxi










































THE GOSSAMER DISPATCH
2003


Shortwave
Created and composed by John Duncan
Processed and mixed at Scrutto by John Duncan
Mastered at Scrutto by John Duncan
7" clear and black vinyl released by Die Stadt
DS64








































DA SICH DIE MACHTGIER...
2003


Created and composed by John Duncan
Voice sources provided by Asmus Tietchens
Processed and mixed at Scrutto by John Duncan
Mastered at Scrutto by John Duncan
CD released by Die Stadt
DS65













Photo by Asmus Tietchens



Asmus Tietchens proposed that he and I work together years ago -- many years ago. For a variety of reasons it didn't happen, and at this point I don't remember any of them. Finally we agreed to start: I asked him to send a recording of his voice and said I'd work with it, send him the result and continue from there -- figuring that he would add to my gestures, then I'd add to his, etc., until we were both satisfied. Asmus sent recordings of him reading two excerpts from texts by E. M. Cioran. Asmus had already processed his voice on both tracks.
After eighteen more months I finally started working on them, and a couple of weeks afterward sent him the results. Asmus liked what he heard, said he felt it was already finished -- and since he hadn't participated directly in the composing process, he couldn't accept credit for involvement in it. We still disagree on this, but it's useless to insist that someone accept what he doesn't feel he's earned. So although I remain convinced that Asmus deserves to be acknowledged as an equal, we've agreed that this project would be credited to me alone.
The next step was to ask Asmus to translate his texts to English. He felt unqualified to do this, and instead sent them typed in German with references to titles. English translations were easy to find, and now that the meaning of the excerpts is clarified for both of us I have to say that we disagree on this, too. Cioran's profound insights into the past and current collective human character, for many years a repeated source of inspiration to Asmus, are well worth becoming familiar with and I'm grateful to him for pointing them out. Cioran's fatalistic insistence on accepting futility as an inevitable part of human endeavors seems accurate -- up to a point. At the same time it fails to account for a growing number of my own experiences, and I think renders his work incomplete as a definitive summation of our existence.
The friction between Asmus' and my perspectives, the complete absence of any hostility between us, our acceptance of each other's differences and the depth of our mutual respect, have all been key elements in the process of making this audio work. Whether or not any of this has anything to do with the sound itself is left for you to decide.
-- John Duncan






























STUN SHELTER
2003

Catalogue + audio CD of the installation with C.M. von Hausswolff at Nicola Fornello Gallery, Prato

Installation recorded by C.M. von Hausswolff
Mastered at Scrutto by John Duncan
Photographs by Ela Bialkowska
Installation audio design and engineering by Giorgio Tomasini
50 page full color catalogue + CD released by Nicola Fornello Gallery and Allquestions
Catalogue text by Daniela Cascella













 


For the exhibition in Prato, the artists have agreed to arrange their works in the same exhibition space: a strong impact and a finely expressed sensitivity are features of these two installations. John Duncan's See is a video installation made up of four separate and simultaneous projections of sequences taken from the John See Series, a series of adult movies he directed in 1986-87 during his stay in Japan. On entering the dark exhibition space, the viewer is assailed by immense flashes of images and sound cut-ups, creating a sensation of giddiness. In those moments in which the sound is softer, a voice emerges, whispering Japanese phrases until it is drowned once again by the wave of louder sounds. Carl Michael von Hausswolff's Thinner & Low Frequency Bar / Glue & High Frequency Lounge consists of two bars made of steel and glass on which lie bottles and cans containing volatile substances such as glue and thinner. On the bar two oscillators produce frequencies varying in intensity, whose sound penetrates the ears altering normal perception levels. Both works fill the space perfectly, one by means of strong images (See), the other through the substances shown. The attention level is at its maximum in attempts to grasp the Japanese whispering (See) and the ghost-sounds of the oscillators (Thinner Bar...), defying the threshold of audibility as they act on the unconscious.
--Daniela Cascella



























THE KEENING TOWERS
2003

Audio installation on the terrace of the Gothenburg City Art Museum
Included in AGAINST ALL EVENS
2nd Gothenburg Biennial 2003
Curated by C.M. von Hausswolff
Created and composed by John Duncan
Processed and mixed at Scrutto by John Duncan
Mastered at Scrutto by John Duncan
Voice sources provided by the San Pietro Elementary School Choir
Conducted by John Duncan
Soloist: Timoti Toniutti

Photographs by Giuliana Stefani
Audio playback system designed by Giorgio Tomasini
Galvanized steel towers provided by E.D. Knutsen
Tower installation engineered and supervised by Peo Karlsson
CD released by Allquestions















Photo by Giuliana Stefani


Sound projected from two separate audio systems mounted at the tops of galvanized steel towers, each 24 meters high, set up in front of the entrance to the Gothenburg city art museum. Each system is playing back parts of a piece composed for the installation using recordings from a 30-voice Italian children's choir as audio sources. The 4-channel sound is reflected off the museum’s façade and the arched corridor immediately behind it, to create a multi-dimensional audio ‘cloud’ of modified voices that cluck their tongues, whisper, scream and howl to listeners standing on the terrace around and between the tower bases. The separate parts run 24 hours a day for 90 consecutive days, to constantly create new mixes without ever repeating.






























INFRASOUND-TIDAL
2003

John Duncan
Data recordings: Tidal, Barometric, Seismic
Composed by John Duncan
Source recordings provided by Densil Cabrera
CD released by Allquestions















Photo by Giuliana Stefani


Densil Cabrera and I have yet to meet face-to-face. Our collaboration began in 1998, when Densil posted an offer to an audio chat list, open to anyone curious to hear and possibly work with tidal recordings he'd made. I responded that same day, intrigued to hear how tidal measurements would sound, more than with their value as scientific research. When his CDr arrived, I accepted the audio sources as 'pure' sound, and sent him a message offering to work with them as such. Densil agreed, and we kept in contact by email.

While working on this project, listening to the sources, checking Densil's website, I tried to deduce something about his character, why he'd chosen to record these sounds, why he'd chosen to share them openly with anyone. Aside from a few technical images from his audio research, these recordings were all the evidence there was available to form an impression of who I was working with. They seemed to imply a person as fascinated with the technical processes of making the recordings -- designing and building the recording equipment, making the tests, writing the software -- as he was in the results. Clearly he was seeking some sort of contact with someone outside of his immediate colleagues and friends, but he appeared not to be interested in knowing anything at all about who I was. It was a conscious decision on my part to accept these limits of his interest, to focus entirely on what the sources had to offer. At the same time, for me this added a human dimension -- isolation, separateness, the monotony of repetitive research, impermanence -- to the marine, atmospheric and geological basis of the audio sources.

The inherent linearity of the scientific data represented in these sounds has deliberately been destroyed, modified into material -- data, if you like -- that operates on several levels at once. According to the time scale represented in several of these recordings, it could be said that the entire process involved in producing this work, spanning five years, took a matter of seconds to complete. And in that time, I still know as little as ever about Densil.

-- John Duncan 2003













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