What’s he building in there?

The past week I have been enamored by the myriad of sounds coming from the apartments and areas of the HUB-BUB building. More specifically, what the heck is everyone building, doing, making, and getting into around here? I certainly know what I’ve been doing in my space, and I am curious about the others. I also like the sense of mystery and what visual and narrative i can create based on the subtle neighboring sounds.

To start, I’ve been building. Building on a small scale, but nonetheless building. What you might ask? A prototype for a sculpture I am working on called Device to call to you, and some experiments of recreating a coffee table at a slight scale shift and positioning. Device to call to you at this point is really just wiring up speakers on a panel to see how it will function logistically. Ideally the final sculpture will be some sort of chest of drawers I’ll invent with audio built into it. The audio will be my attempts to call to someone, which will be abstracted in some manner. The various coffee table forms are turning into the beginnings of a small fleet or army of 2/3 scale furniture.

As I dust the sawdust from my self I can help to think, maybe my neighbor, Ian Shelly’s military and toy influences are bleeding through the walls. The various subtle sounds occasionally seeping from Ian’s apartment/studio toward mine are of a similar nature to mine. The sound of a small saw running, some cutting, the scrape of material on the floor, the clank of something falling. The sounds are familiar, yet uncanny behind a wall. I imagine how he is moving through the space and creating.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of hearing the whirling of a tool outside of Kerri’s apartment. I was simply stopping by to see if she needed to go the store with me. I was strangely enthralled by the whirl of what sounded like a drill. To me it sounded exactly like a drill with a long mixing attachment bit to mix up slip (liquid clay) or paint. I immediately visualized her mixing a 5 gallon bucket of paint with the drill and long bit. The mystery of not fully seeing it all but trying to decipher through hearing fascinates me.

Aside from that there is the occasional movement of my fellow residents coming and going. The sounds of doors opening and shutting. The sounds of footsteps walking along the floorboards, and descending the staircase. This is comforting to me, knowing that there is a flourishing of activity among my fellow residents and I. And I certainly hope they too are thinking and asking the question Tom Waits once proclaimed “What the hell is he building in there?” There is something fascinating about the myth of the artist and how they create in isolation. Take a look at Tom Wait’s eerie video/song What’s he building in there? from his 1999 album Mule Variations:

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Filed under Artists-in-Residence, Ron Longsdorf (10-11)

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