Net_Music_Weekly: Sound Mirrors

soundmirror1.jpgA forerunner of Radar, acoustic mirrors or ‘listening ears’ were built on the south and northeast coasts of England (1916 – 1930s) to detect approaching enemy aircraft at a distance of 8 to 15 miles. With the development of faster aircraft the sound mirrors became less useful, as an aircraft would be within sight by the time it had been located; radar finally rendered the mirrors obsolete. [via]

Lise Autogena’s Sound Mirrors was inspired by the derelict acousic mirrors at Denge, England. It aims to create two new sound mirrors on the coasts of England and France to enable people on either side of the English Channel to speak to each other.

This project … thematically twists the mirrors by 180 degrees, turning what was to be a shield of defence and surveillance into a tool for communicating with the continent. A new sound mirror will be built on Dungeness and a second facing it near Boulogne, probably at Wimereux (appropriately, where Marconi’s first radio broadcast was received).” – Tom Dyckhoff, Guardian, 2001.

Announced by Arts Council England in 2000 with an end date of 2004, the project has yet to be completed.

There is a lengthly text accompanying a YouTube video about other Sound Mirror artworks that preceded Autogena’s. And there’s Troika’s Sonic Marshmallows which I posted on NMR a while ago. For much more on the subject, see Andrew Grantham’s page.

UPDATE: I have removed the YouTube video and the excerpted text from the original post because it has come to my attention (see the comments section below) that the person behind them has been slandering Lise Autogena and Tacita Dean (whom he also mentions).

Oct 16, 2007
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5 Responses

  1. not Joe Banks:

    Did you read the text you have extensively quoted? It essentially rubbishes all the work of two artists, simply because they use have utilized the same structure in their own work. Work – that if viewed – you’d see has no relation to the film of Joe Banks. Mr. Banks cannot claim copyright over a structure. Mr. Bank’s hate complain against these two artists; by email, and online in wikipedia and via YouTube is essentially harassment that I’m surprised Turbulence have entertained. You may have quoted it; but you have responsibly for what you publish.

  2. Joshua Portway:

    Here we go again….I collaborated with Lise Autogena on the film “As far as the eye can see”. For the last few years we’ve been having to deal with these ridiculous personal attacks.

    If anyone would like to see how “virtually identical” our film is to the “Disinformation” film then they might want to have a look at the little trailer we made for a gallery showing of the film in 2001 :

    go to this page :
    and click the image.

    Please compare it to the Youtube video shown above which it supposedly plagiarises. I have no doubt that Tacita Dean’s film is similarly innocent of the plagiarism claimed in the text, as indeed are all the other people who have been attacked for stealing this particular work.

    Needless to say the other claims made in this text are equally inaccurate, and deliberately misleading. The text says that £70000 was received in funding for the project from Nesta. In fact this money was a three year grant to Lise personally for her own career development, not for the Sound Mirrors project. The technical criticisms are utterly unfounded and are based either on the writers ignorance of the details of the project or on a deliberate attempt to mislead. Although Lise doesn’t know much about acoustics herself some very highly respected acoustic engineers have worked on the project, and they seem to think it’s going to work. Even a cursory Google search would reveal that Lise and I have both worked on extremely technically sophisticated projects in the past, so it would be surprising if we had ignored such an obvious problem. And it certainly appears that the author of these attacks has done more than a little research into Lise over the years.

    Lise has worked for many years on the Sound Mirrors project – the majority of that time completely unfunded and unpaid. She is obviously frustrated and unhappy that the project has stalled in this way, but the reasons are largely to do with politics and beyond her control. The project has cost Lise a lot, both financially and emotionally. Trying to insinuate that the project is some kind of plan to con public institutions out of their money is absurd (not to mention slanderous).

    These sort of rather pathetic claims of plagiarism of the work of “Disinformation” have been made against many people and in increasingly infantile ways. For instance, recently there have been anonymous edits to the Wikipedia pages about Lise Autogena and Tacita Dean, adding similar claims to those in this text about Lise (including the triumphant accusation that “Several of Autogena’s grants have been used to employ Joshua Portway’s brother Simeon Portway.” – she did, because he offered to do her web design very, very cheaply). But Lise has escaped relatively easily – nearly 25% of Tacita Dean’s Wikipedia page used to be devoted to her appalling plagiaristic crimes. Even the Wikipedia page about Tacita Deans brother was edited to add the phrase “sibling of the well known art plagiarist Tacita Dean”.

    Lise and Tacita Dean are not the only people who have been attacked for plagiarising this persons work – oh no – a whole community of villains owe their careers to ripping off “Disinformation”. A quick Google search revealed similar claims against the band ColdCut and even the writer Hari Kunzru (because he once interviewed Joe Banks and subsequently worked with Coldcut). The Wikipedia pages for Coldcut were similarly edited to link to the work of “Disinformation” with similar texts endlessly detailing the chronology of who made what when (without regard for the fact that all of the works are completely different). Perhaps there are other people affected by this paranoia too, but I don’t want to waste my life obsessing about this in the same way that the author of these attacks seems to obsess about his bête-noirs.

    I’ve no idea who’s writing these silly things – whoever it is they seem to be deeply insecure. Surely it couldn’t be Joe Banks? Perhaps it’s a pitifully obsessed and deluded fan, or maybe an over-protective mother, who knows. Joe Banks is obviously someone who has done some interesting work himself and surely would have enough self respect that he wouldn’t need to resort to childish fantasies that everyone is stealing his work. Would he ?

  3. jo:

    It’s interesting that a person with such strong feelings about the subject would hide his/her identity. Pretty much says it all. C4eye is either affiliated with or a big fan of Disinformation though … spreading a little disinformation?

  4. jo:

    It seems that Joe Banks is the person behind the smear campaign and that Wikipedia is considering removing its Disinformation page.

  5. » Blog Archive » Networked Music Review:

    […] article from last October about sound mirrors, and discussion about the various art projects which have made use of […]

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