Contact Microphone, DC Motor, Scrap Metal, Plumb Bob,
Bare Wire, Effect Pedal, Speaker, Projection
Exhibited at Granoff Center of Brown University
The Progress Machine uses noise as a political motif of resistance. The plumb bob is attached to a DC motor with bare wire. Continuously activated out of balance, it drags itself across metal attached to contact microphones, generating noise. The projection displays zoomed-in and blurred found footage from the Great Leap Forward.
In the Art of Noises, Luigi Russolo marks the industrial revolution as the birth of noise. In 1960s China, the failed industrialization led to 700 tons of pig iron and 30 million deaths in famine. This work aims to investigate the silenced gap between what is experienced and what is told. A plumb bob is a tool of standardized measurement. Here its repeated attempts to measure become futile – referring to how the distorted standard in measuring progress during the Great Leap Forward leads to futility, and the loss of standard units (when death becomes numbers that are modified) in historical documents. The found footage expresses the loss of resolution of individual narratives within a collective history.