‘Act so that there is no use in a centre’

  • 'Act so that there is no use in a center' @ Faulconer Gallery 2015

A distributed, radio-transmitted, interactive sound art installation

‘Act so that there is no use in a centre’ is an abstracted and deconstructed spatial radio play. It sets ‘Rooms’, from Gertrude Stein’s seminal language-art book ‘Tender Buttons’ (1914), as a distributed, radio-transmitted, sound installation, meant to be explored interactively. The work takes its name from the first sentence of the text, which also sets the tone for the visitor experience.

The piece deals with fragmentation, interference, and distortion of memory, place, and meaning. Emanating out of 6 storage boxes, the combined memories of the writer (text) and the artist (sound) haunt the exhibition’s hertzian space with imaginary landscapes, wordscapes, and fleeting soundscapes, waiting to be discovered using 7 small portable radios. Each box contains fragments from a particular type of space implied in Stein’s text and transmits them to the nearby airwaves: studio, living room, bedroom, kitchen, outdoors, and transitional spaces. Original material, together with sounds from the maker’s audio archive composed and recorded in various locations in the span of 10 years, support and expand on the text. The work lasts 35 minutes.

Visitors can experience the piece using the handheld FM radios found in the exhibition space. The piece is interactive and visitors are encouraged to shape their experience as they see fit: please feel free to move the radios, walk around the space with them, adjust their volumes, and switch them on or off. If you get lost in the airwaves, you can find the piece at 87.9 FM.

Year: 2014
Type: Installation (interactive)
Description: Distributed, radio-transmitted, interactive sound art installation
Dimensions: Variable (minimum 10m x 7m)
Duration: Variable (seed material lasts 35 minutes)
Capacity: Variable
Materials/Media: White Ikea boxes, white gaffer tape, stools, radio transmitters, handheld radios, Raspberry Pi computer, sound
Photo credit: Stelios Manousakis

Gertrude Stein, Tender Buttons: Rooms (1914)

Stephanie Pan

Musicians (alphabetically)
Jelte van Andel (cello); Garth Knox (viola); Stelios Manousakis (digital & analog electronics, chamber organ, electric organ, harpsichord, cooking); Stephanie Pan (voice, zither, wineglass); the world (soundscapes)

Sound Locations
USA: Mount Rainier, WA; Redwood national forest, CA; San Fransisco, CA; Seattle, WA;
The Netherlands: Amsterdam; Ijmuiden bunkers; Scheveningen; The Hague
Greece: Chania, Crete; Kedrodasos, Crete;
Austria: Kramsach; Vienna;
Slovakia: Bratislava;
Spain: Montseny mountain, Cataluña

Bedroom. Kitchen. Studio. Living room. Window doors and in-betweens. Outdoors


The piece was developed during an artist residency in Vienna with Kultur Kontakt Austria (January-March 2014)