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Susan Hiller: Witness

Susan Hiller is an American born artist, her practice practice encompassing installation, photography, video and performance. For her work Witness she has gathered first-hand reports of encounters with UFOs or aliens posted on internet sites world-wide. Hiller sees this activity as related to older forms of confession, ways of placing fears into the public arena. Gathering this information becomes an exploration of a kind of contemporary folklore, one in which alien contact is offered as explanation for the inexplicable. The work is like a cave of thin silvery stalactites that turn out to be wires with miniature speakers attached, where one can listen to the testimonies of encounters with UFOs.

“Listening to these people whispering in your ears is like being a priest in a confessional. The whole piece is built upon the shape of the cross and the circle. There are four pathways where you can enter the inner circle of the installation… The religious symbolism of the cross in the circle is crucial because the stories are examples of contemporary visionary experience. Only today people see UFOs where once they saw angels.” – Hiller

Stephen Cornford

Cornford is an English artist/composer/musician.  Cornford’s work explores platforms such as sculpture, instillation, composure, performance, and ‘the extended technique of free improvisation’ all of which he dedicates to the examination of our relationship to space. Cornford uses his intricate homemade mechanisms, which are often adaptations of recognisable instruments like guitars, drums, and turntables, to have an acoustic relationship with both the space they inhabit and the spectators experiencing them.

Air Guitar

“My installations employ space as a physical and acoustic substance in order to provoke the audience into a durational and subjective encounter with the work. My performances employ unpredictable processes and systems to ensure that my position in relation to the sounds is primarily as a listener.” – Stephen Cornford

One example of Cornford’s work and general visual style is Air Guitar.  Made from a revolving electric guitar and amplifier the work combines a unique physical presence as well as creating a ‘droning Aeolian loop.’ The works sound comes from the motion of the guitar and amplifier, which have both been attached to a slowly spinning wheelchair motor, the movement created reminiscent of some great machine as its cogs turn giving life to that machine. Because of the movement the droning sound produced by the guitar is subject to the Doppler effect, Cornford employing scientific knowledge to accomplish a constant variation in the ambient sounds, his Leslie speaker supplementing the works incredible character.