If a “microphone” is a device used to amplify small sounds, a “macrophone” brings very large sounds into our perceptual range. Normally too low frequency to hear, such sounds can travel great distances through the atmosphere, even across the globe. They come from brewing storms, heavy industry, calving icebergs, wind turbines, sagging infrastructure, or police weaponry. So often these “big” phenomena, many of which have to do with the climate crisis, are made invisible to us—though digital platforms have brought the Earth into perpetual view, they are instruments of power and are easily manipulated. But macrophones can be built on the ground. Also known as “infrasound arrays,” this post-war technology has been used to monitor nuclear warhead tests and volcano stability. In this time of isolation, what else can we hear when we listen closely at a distance?
Macrophones (in progress)
Support: Djerassi Foundation, Lewis & Clark College. Thanks: Columbia Center for Spatial Research, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Ben Holtzman, Won-Young Kim, Brett Zehner, David Kim, Lucia Monge, Elias Williamson, Theun Karelse.