01 Sep — 30 Sep 1997
Joyce Hinterding's Siphon is an Electro-acoustic installation work. This work explores an eighteenth century idea about the storage of electricity in insulated containers (Leyden jars ) and the analogies we use to understand electricity (primarily the water analogy). In this work 100 glass jars are wired into an electronic circuit so that in effect the entire room replaces a single component in the circuit. The artist describes this as a "delirious technology". The circuit designed for this allows people to experience the filling and emptying of the jars as both a clearly audible experience and a more subtle sensory one.
Siphon folds back on itself in many ways as it is primarily an experience open to interpretation. We are confronted with a rupture as the man-made is experienced as phenomenological event. Electricity is the raw material and the event seems to be one that might reveal the nature of electricity. Here, the misreadings and misunderstandings are what make the work, for we are confronted with our imaginative interpretations of one of the most basic components of modern life and our inability at deciphering any definitive rationale on nature itself. The sound is reproduced by large electromagnetic transducers; speaker magnets and voice coils that are in direct contact with the floor, and thus the floor becomes a part of the speaker system. The sounds produced by this system are quite low level and reflect the sounds of the system present in the room - a 50 htz mains hum - pink noise. This is the sound characteristic of solid state electronics, a sound created by electrons crashing into atoms as they move through solid state devices and the resonant frequency of the glasses. This locates the sound inside the glasses, and creates a sense of sound emanating from the glasses rather than the speakers.
The more subtle sensory experience of electrical presence such as the slight tingling as you place your hands over the glasses and the inexplicable smell verifies the phenomenological truth of this work, something that could only be determined by this experience as the actual electronics are concealed from view. Siphon is a kind of inefficient, emotional, technology - pouring in and out of containers like a fluid exploiting that leap of faith that occurs every time something is switched on.
Joyce Hinterding and Siphon have been brought to The Physics Room with the assistance of the Commonwealth Government through the Australia Council, its Arts funding and Advisory Board.