Subterranean (Seismic Blues)

Columbia Glacier Passive Seismic Experiment station map

40.00 minutes
sound work / multi channel
A Semiconductor work by Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt.
performance / installation

Subterranean (Seismic Blues) is a sound work of seismic data made audible. It is composed of several types of seismic data; earthquake, volcanic and glacial, each which forms one of three sections of the work. Each section has distinct characteristics which can be associated with processes involved in the seismic propagation; the earthquake data evokes images of rocks crunching and splintering under huge amounts of pressure, the volcanic data gives the impression of lava resonating underground whilst the glacial data crackles and snaps bringing to mind melting ice.

By translating the seismic data into audible sound we are able to perceive subterranean movements which normally lie beyond our realm of experience. What we hear gives a sense of the Earth in motion; what ordinarily appears static is in a constant state of flux, encouraging us to imagine the mechanisms producing these epic sounds.

Through appropriating scientific data in this way, we are playing with the role science plays in our experiences of the natural world and questioning how it mediates them.

Premiered at Not For Human Consumption, Cafe Oto, November 2012.
Thanks to Julian Weaver and CRiSAP
On-line exhibition by Julian Weaver Not for Human Consumption.
Seismic data courtesy of the Iris (Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology) Consortium

Subterranean (Seismic Blues) (excerpt), 2012