Ars Electronica

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Prix 1987 - 2007

Ars Electronica Linz & ORF Oberösterreich

Geert-Jan Hobijn, Staalplaat Soundsystem , Carsten Stabenow

Yokomono is the Staalplaat Mono Erosive Surround Sound Installation. The present setup consists of 10 vinyl killers—toy car record players, each customized with its own fm transmitter. The sound comes through a set of radios that receive the signal transmitted by the vinyl killers.

First of all, each killer is mono and has poor sound quality, but much more Yokomono is very hard to handle—you cannot really select a track or make it stop when you want to, it’s more like putting the needle down blindfolded.

The real difference starts when you realize each killer runs on batteries, meaning the speed is unstable and it will slow down during the concert. The fact that the batteries run out effect not only the speed but also the fm frequency that the killer is transmitting. The fact that we transmit with 10 fm transmitters at the same time means that each transmitter is affecting the other. These interferences and the unstable media that is transmitting makes the whole set unpredictable and hard to control.

In the installation version we bring over 200 radios. As each killer plays its own record (locked groove records made by us for the installation) it opens up a separate audio stream. We thereby generate and control a 10-channel sound system. By arranging the radios in 10 groups it becomes possible to explore the architectural dimensions of the space. Some radios are tuned to the same frequency, here we use small battery-operated radios on sets of model traintracks to map the transmission in the space, because the radios will drive through the interfering frequencies. (Geert-Jan Hobijn)