Witness

Date: 2014

Medium: Sound and light installation

Materials: Live streaming audio, high-pressure sodium light, custom electronics, concrete, and dirt.

Dimensions: 6.1m x 1.8m x 1.2m

 

A salvaged Oakland street light looms over visitors entering the lobby of the gallery. Standing off center and a bit too tall for the room, this object takes on a stance of not belonging to the space it inhabits thus allowing the fixture to maintain it’s identity, firmly anchored in some other location and time.

 

Construction of the Interstate 980 Freeway in Oakland, CA, between 1960 and 1985 divided a city and split neighbors in two, delineating what would become a low income ghetto. Microphones mounted in this historically violent neighborhood broadcast ambient street noise into the gallery. Speakers embedded in the ceiling amplify the daily activities of the location 24 hours a day in real time. Birds can be heard chirping over the din of the highway. Creating the feeling that the sound-scape of Oakland's "Ghost Town" is somehow just outside the door, the installation bears vigilant witness to a slice of contemporary daily life.

 

© 2017 Anja Ulfeldt