I realized last week that the water ball would add an unnecessary barrier between the viewer and the air traffic control sounds. It would shift attention away from the sounds to the ball itself, and imply that the ball – and the person inside – are the sources of those sounds. I’d prefer that the sounds define the work.
I now have a simple way to play real-time air traffic control communication feeds in public space. My setup is barebones: a small plastic container with a speaker and my phone. I use my phone because it gives me access to the “LiveATC” app, where I can stream live feeds of air traffic control communications. There is likely a way to stream audio from a small computer like a Raspberry Pi, but my immediate priority is to find the right context for these sounds.
1. Underground – The receiver (speaker + phone + plastic container) is buried underground. Near the burial site are scattered fragments from an implied airplane crash. These fragments may be pieces from toy airplanes or broken egg shells.
2. Elevator – A bird’s nest is attached to the top of an elevator, in which the receiver is hidden. Air traffic control communications are emitted from the nest, and eggs in the nest may or may not twitch in response to the sounds.
I’d like to hear feedback on these ideas. My main concern right now is not technical, but rather finding a home for these sounds, that is, a context in which they don’t seem random. An elevator, for example, makes sense as a context for two reasons: 1) it moves between high and low altitudes, like airplanes, 2) the viewer is forced to reckon with (listen to, look at) the piece because the inside of an elevator is an enclosed space.
UPDATE: I found this Baldfaced Hornet’s Nest on Craigslist. I might want to to embed the receiver in the nest, and put it in an elevator for people to come across.