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I am AI, We are AI & Fields of Indigo

07.04.12 | Comment?

I am AI, We are AI and Fields of Indigo (IAWA/FI) are two collaborative efforts currently in-progress between Norbert Herber and textile artist Rowland Ricketts. The combined project combines generative music with live field recordings to create an environment that reflects on the themes of tradition, interconnectivity, and processes of diminution and accretion both in sound and natural indigo dye.

I am AI, We are AI exhibition buttons

The sound of the installation is to be built-up in layers. Two field recorders will create a sonic foundation layer. These will be placed in both US and Japanese indigo fields so that continuous audio can be streamed over the Internet to the installation location in the opposite country—those that visit the installation in Japan will hear the sound of a US-based indigo field and vice versa. Additional layers are to be comprised of a digitally processed version of the live stream, as well as sounds related to indigo processing and dyeing: harvesting, composting, winnowing, stomping dry leaves, stirring the dye vat, dripping, and rinsing the dyed cloth with water. A final layer will consist of voice recordings of people from around the world that are connected to the Tokushima indigo tradition through practices in agriculture, industry, and/or art.

The live audio stream will play continuously and be subject to the weather conditions, flora, and fauna present at the site of recording. Pre-recorded sounds related to indigo processes and production will be part of a generative system. These layers will be autonomous and ever-changing. The voice recordings will play relative to the presence of people inside the installation space. As visitors move about the room, motion sensors will trigger an additional generative system that plays these sounds. One’s presence and engagement with the space will connect them with sounds of a tradition that grew out of Tokushima and has spread across the globe.

I am AI, We are AI voice recording session

What is heard is immaterial, or “not-present-in-a-physical state,” much like the steps of the processes that leave their mark on the finished textiles. The sounds of IAWA/FI reflect on aspects of Japanese indigo such as connection to a place and cultural roots that will inevitably change and be influenced by each and any of us. Sound constructs a strong metaphor for the force of cultural influence and interaction on many traditions as one culture shapes and influences the other. Because it is ultimately produced through generative techniques, the sounds of IAWA/FI are constantly heard in unique permutations. New sonic combinations and sequences regularly redefine the work, weakening the idea of what it is while giving strength to an overall sense of potential and possibility. Those that enter the installation space and engage with the work will make visual and aural contact with this tradition and its becoming.

Fields of Indigo installation at the Krannert Art Museum
I am Ai, We are Ai exhibition site & news: English || Japanese
Fields of Indigo and I am Ai, We are Ai (complete descriptions, sound streams, and indigo essays)

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