Stephen Cornford
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  Archipelago (2013)  


Archipelago is a sculpture for more than 50 portable CD players. The work inverts their normal role as the source of audio, turning them instead into receptors of sound: ears. In doing so the work asks how these machines might behave were they able to hear.

Electromagnetic recordings of the machines are played back into their motors, causing them to twitch, tremble and spin unpredictably. These mechanised spasms are then amplified through an array of small speakers encircling them. The abandoned portable stereos of the past, a technology designed to enable solitude and isolation in even the most crowded of spaces, are transformed into a network of nervous electronic eavesdroppers. Visually reminiscent of a model cityscape or biological test laboratory, Archipelago subjects domestic technology to the pressures of urban dwelling.

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