nest (2016) – Installation

nest-installation (2016) is a site-specific sound installation commissioned by Longleash Piano Trio for the 2016 Loretto Project at the Loretto Motherhouse grounds in Loretto, Kentucky.

3 cedar birdhouses with mp3 players and speakers mounted inside, play looped audio files from a piano trio by the same name. Each speaker projects a unique looped audio track. Each track is one layer of a three-layer composite piece. The piece can be experienced by watching the videos simultaneously (in different windows) or separately, one at a time. Videos may also be appreciated as a loop.

land makes up the first site of the installation. Sounds composed for this location were elemental to house and barn, which modulate the material of land. This design is inherited from the idea that land is elemental and primary to a place. It is not only influential to human activity and infrastructure, it precedes and survives it. Land represents the most rudimental and collective memory and experience of a place. The environmental sonic artefacts of the land in Loretto, Kentucky have been left in the documentation of all three pieces of nest-installation.

house makes up the second site of the installation. The word ‘house’ here implies a dwelling. On top of the land, floors, ceilings and walls transform a place; constructing a dichotomy of inside/outside. The score created to perform the music found in house is a transparency that is designed to lay on top of land to be read as a composite score. In the installation, sound plays through a speaker inside a birdhouse situated in a room meant to act as an entryway between the outside and the chapel where the music for nest was recorded. The ‘inside’-ness of a house molds space and sound in an architecture. Similarly, at each level – chapel, birdhouse, entryway – sound is housed in, and shaped by an ‘inside’.

barn makes up the third site of the installation. Its relationship to both architecture and the environment make it an intermediary between both land and house. Its agricultural activities affect the perception and shape of the land it sits on. This is reflected in the score for the music in nest-barn. Printed on transparency paper, barn sits on top of two transparent layers representing both land and house. The result is a composite score incorporating elements from all three layers. Like crops, sound is propagated on the land surrounding the barn where nest-barn is situated, in an attempt to represent the complex fabric that is woven between construction and environment, life and land, sound and space.

Music composed and recorded by Zak Argabrite, performed by Longleash.
Video by Longleash, edited by Zak Argabrite.