nicholas cline | composer

when we speak of the land (2014)

electronically controlled vibrating objects

High Concept Laboratories residency (Summer 2014)


  • OSCILLATIONS - Experimental Sound Studios, Chicago, IL - 11/07/2014
  • High Concept Laboratoires @ MANA Contemporary, Chicago, IL - 09/20/2014

Program Note:

when we speak of the land investigates the decidedly human urge to control natural forces despite overwhelming odds and often fleeting successes. Scientists and government agencies have long warned of the possibility of devastating earthquakes in the New Madrid Seismic Zone, urging Midwesterners to prepare for an impending catastrophe. Yet, the last major eruption occurred over 200 years ago. The work explores the second largest earthquake recorded in Illinois (April 18, 2008) through sonification. Data extracted from seismographs is used to create and control the vibrations of sheet metal and drums by exciting their natural resonant frequencies. The metaphor is rather direct: the vibrations of these surfaces correspond to the mysterious intraplate earthquakes.

Part musical composition, part sound installation, when we speak of the land aims to create an immersive sound experience for the listener by fine tuning the network of vibrations and spatialized sounds to the acoustics of the performance space.