Friday, November 03, 2006

Haunted Weather_ The Nerve in the Factory/ Mark Brown

The location, a gutted factory deployed on the banks of a silted over and congested river, wherebird calls mixed with the roar of the ingress and egress of goods trains and the occasional crackand echo of gun fire. Beyond the river a tract of Grader ravished brown soil, felled trees and Dieselengine roar. An endless re coagulation and fortification of the earth was daily executed across theriver bank from the factory.Inside, veins and tendons that once fed and actuated Industrial organs remained now quarterised.Platforms, gantries and promontories jutted and floated inside the monumental concrete shell. Thisawesome empty edifice was, during the time that I spent there, the architectural ’host’ of a complexaudio entity. An entity that slept, awoke, breathed and seemed to assimilate invisible phenomenonharnessing and harvesting this quantity and in turn converting it into the potential energy it requiredto catalyse a tangible though temporal ’atmosphere’. In turn it excreted an alchemised precipitation,an auditory meteorology. The Nerve Meter’s sonic circadian rhythms were however prone toagitation by certain electro-magnetic infections and inflections of it’s nervous system.The Nerve Meter’s morning calibration and thus the onset of it’s particular mood depended on thetinkering of it’s creator / conductor / architect. Slippages and delays in ‘booting’ it into life andinterference from within the concrete stratosphere at times seemed to leave the entity suffering fromsome form of jet lag.I worked day to day isolated inside the vast cement Cathedral bathed in frequencies, found, foreignand fractured engulfed by a weather machine whose pressure systems filled the space and clung toall who resided and toiled within. I speculated even as to it’s ability to effect a sudden teleportationof myself and all lose matter, tools and detritus inside the Powerhouse to another time previouswhen the mechanised hum it now amplified through a matrix of distributed modular sound emittingunits would have oscillated with the vibration of the machines and furnaces that once were theorgans of this facility.One day we gathered outside the threshold of the concrete resonance chamber under cover from aheavy rain storm. Looking out across the river and churned up earth of the nearby artillery range, aflash of distant light, a measurable delay was proceeded by a loud thunder clap. The Nerve Meter,already on edge in the storm, responded with a sonic shiver that fed back and in turn infected the‘haunted weather’ it had generated inside the gutted factory. Like a fight-flight response to a suddenairborne strafing of its outer shell.I imagined far off in the midst of this crescendo of weather, electricity and sound in some soddenentrenchment, field guns glistening in the rain turning slowly on their base plates towards thefactory and a barrage of shells searing the air as they arced invisible but audible across the sky,penetrating the outer shell of the building and stopping dead in mid air inside the edifice. The NerveMeter held the foreign projectiles suspended as it scrutinised them trying to define their function.They dropped harmlessly to the floor rolling in concentric circles with a syncopation tapped out bythe still steaming hot rifling engraved on their shafts as they rolled around on the floor beforecoming to rest.
Mark Brown 2006