Deborah Stratman

14 April 2012 - 19 May 2012
Opening Reception 14 April 2012 8pm

An installation drawing upon the ecological effects of vibration and the history of sonic warfare. Historically, sound has been an ideal medium for the performance of psychological warfare because of how efficiently it evokes events and locations. Whether declarative, as with anthems or artillery, or deceptive, as with sonic decoys or surveillance, the audiosphere is well disposed to militarization. Inside the gallery, aural encounters occur in two strains. One territorial, via the ground walked upon, as much felt as heard; the other aerial, via a sonic beam that occasionally swept the visitor unannounced like a wandering ghost. Instrumentation of the floor composition is comprised of tank maneuvers, explosions, earthquake frequencies, helicopters and other heavy equipment. These field recordings were filtered, processed and edited together with a variety of sine and sawtooth waves. Conceptually, the floor composition suggests the residual infrastructural sounds of military action. Three subwoofers and three buttkickers are installed below the topography upon which the visitor walked and felt the composition. The wandering beam composition is comprised of sirens, trumpets and bagpipes – instrumentation that is traditionally declarative and historically associated with warfare or police states. The instruments were deployed without their traditional melodies, resulting in single notes and drones. This piece was played through an HSS (Hyper Sonic Sound) speaker mounted on a gimbal in the ceiling. This sort of speaker generates a highly directional sound beam which is non-discernable unless the beam is pointed directly at the listener.

This exhibition is presented in collaboration with the 25th Images Festival, April 12 – April 21.

For more information visit Images Festival

Deborah Stratman is a Chicago-based artist and filmmaker interested in landscapes and systems. Her films, rather than telling stories, pose a series of problems – and through their at times ambiguous nature, allow for a complicated reading of the questions being asked. Many of her films point to the relationships between physical environments and the very human struggles for power, ownership, mastery and control that are played out on the land. Most recently, they have questioned elemental historical narratives about freedom, expansion, security, and the regulation of space. Stratman works in multiple mediums, including photography, sound, drawing and sculpture. She has exhibited internationally at venues including the Whitney Biennial, MoMA, the Pompidou, Hammer Museum and many international film festivals including Sundance, the Viennale, Ann Arbor and Rotterdam. She is the recipient of Fulbright and Guggenheim fellowships and she currently teaches at the University of Illinois at Chicago.