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Metric Displacement (2021)
Bern, Portland, Shenzhen
w/ Annie Aries and Marcel Zaes

While Zoom and other online streaming platforms let us appear together online, the vast network infrastructure between us inevitably introduces delays, skips, and other temporal distortions. We usually try our best to ignore these shortcomings when we connect virtually, but Metric Displacement harnesses them instead in order to create unique rhythms.

This “site-specific” installation comprises three turntables streaming to an online meeting from three different locations spread out across the globe (Portland, OR; Bern, Switzerland; Shenzhen, China). Each turntable plays one of 18 looping lock-grooves on a vinyl record. The beat that results is unique for each listener who logs into the meeting because of the particular network conditions through which they are reached by the three streams. The piece runs continuously for a full week; as the grooves of the record begin to degrade, the artists in each location select new ones.

For more information, see “Metric Displacement: The Sound of Network Friction” in MAST, 2023 (publisher, pdf)

Support: Swissnex San Francisco, Gray Area, Lewis & Clark College, Brown University, Hochschule der Künste Bern. Thanks: Mary Ellyn Johnson, Inga Chinilina.