Macrophones (ongoing)

Normally too low-frequency to hear, infrasound travels vast distances through the atmosphere. It comes from calving glaciers, power plants, wildfires, changing ocean currents, and even HVAC systems at massive data centers. Big phenomena like these are entangled with the climate crisis. If we could hear infrasound, could we listen to the crisis as it unfolds across the globe?

Macrophones appropriates Cold War technology and combines it with cutting-edge signal processing and machine learning in order to make infrasound audible. Situated in locations including old-growth forests, the arctic tundra, and city centers, the installation comprises electronics that record microbarometric fluctuations through a sculptural wind filter. The recordings are processed and resampled upward into an acoustic range that we can hear, and via audio augmented reality, listeners at the site hear infrasound spatially situated in the landscape around them.

Paying attention to how we are connected through the atmosphere, rather than through the internet, is both poetic and political. My hope is that listening to infrasound from nearby and from thousands of miles away can cultivate the expanded sense of the local on which an equitable climate future depends.

With support from: Creative Capital, Amherst College, Lewis & Clark College, University of Oregon Center for Art Research. Fittings fabrication: Geordi Helmick, Julian McAdams. Djerassi production: Tim DeVoe. Studio assistants: Elias Williamson, Andrew Butcher, Zac Watson, Ziji Zhou. Thanks: Lucia Monge, Ben Holtzman, Leif Karlstrom, Theun Karelse, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia Center for Spatial Research.