Transmission is a new sound installation by Jacob Kirkegaard, commissioned by and created especially for Resonant Spaces: Sound Art at Dartmouth, an exhibition held at the Hood Museum at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire
The work consists of seismic vibration recordings of the ambient resonance of rock arches from around Native American Tribal lands in Utah and Arizona, combined with above ground acoustic recordings from the same places.
Some of the arches are sacred sites for Native Americans who inhabit the region. One of these, in English known as Rainbow Bridge or in Navajo Nonnezoshe meaning "rainbow turned to stone," is set in a deep, remote canyon at the foot of Navajo Mountain.
Tribes for whom this arch is sacred - and who have visited and/or used this site for thousands of years, as confirmed by oral testimony, archaeological site analysis, and ethnographic documentation - include the Navajo, Hopi, Kaibab Paiute, San Juan Southern Paiute, White Mesa Ute & Zuni
Transmission resonates up through the Fairchild Atrium at the ECOLAB (Department of Geography at Dartmouth College), a tall and slender architecture made of raw concrete. Its ambience is quiet and students utilize nearby spaces.
The deep but subtle seismic vibrations from the arches resonate from the bottom of the atrium and occasionally resound in the otherwise quiet space. The above-ground ambient acoustic recordings made from the areas around the arches whisper from the top of the tall atrium. A vertical sonic space spanning from below to above the surface of the earth is created
Whereas our surroundings above the earth’s surface mostly relate to the present, archaeologists and geologists utilize the spaces beneath our feet to study the past. Combining these above and below ground spaces can be experienced as deep time listening – in the present.
Our geological spaces are dark, dense and slow. They contain, hide or reveal past events, long forgotten, unknown or ignored parts of our lives and history. But the obscured past can also be found in the human subconsciousness, reflecting Native American anthropomorphism of natural features - in particular Rainbow Bridge
Transmission - a signal that is broadcast or sent out. Or something that is passed on
The exhibition was curated by Spencer Topel and co-curated by Amelia B. Kahl
The seismic vibration data used in Transmission were recorded by geoscientist Jeffrey Moore and geophysics graduate student Paul Geimer from the Department of Geology & Geophysics at the University of Utah, with support from the National Science Foundation and National Park Service. During April 2017, Jacob Kirkegaard joined Dr. Moore and Mr. Geimer on a field trip through Utah and Arizona gathering seismic data and acoustic recordings