TWO SOUND INSTALLATIONS
What does the Internet sound like? What is the sound of data? Anyone who has placed a CD-ROM in a cheap CD player will tell you (presuming they still have any hearing left to understand the question): loud, broadband noise, like when you're between stations on the radio dial. New York-based sound artist Ben Rubin and Bell Labs statistician Mark Hansen delved deep into the Internet and devised Listening Post, which extracts, scrolls, and speaks texts from chat rooms on 231 miniature text display units. I'll spare you the technical talk of bots, Perl scripts, Max/MSP, and how decades ago Jenny Holzer turned scrolling signs that trailed the price of Twinkies into chilling agitprop art. In Listening Post, serenely cascading constellations of verdant, twinkling text combine with impassive synthesized voices to reveal an overwhelming hive of life. Do not miss this arresting work.
Not all installations need plush grants and corporate support. Push the Button was built by John Bain from obsolete and scavenged technology. On the surface, the installation seems simple--push a button, and samples from Otis F. Odder ("You are God!" "Bring a bomb on an airplane!") blare. But the charm of this piece lurks in the variety of voices and the unsettling juxtapositions. Hansen, Rubin, Bain, and Odder do what composers have done for centuries: transform ordinary, overlooked means of expression into art. CHRISTOPHER DeLAURENTI
Catch Listening Post from Thurs Nov 21 through Sun Nov 24; the installation runs Thurs and Fri from 5 pm-8 pm, Sat and Sun from 1 pm-8 pm (On the Boards Studio Theater, 100 W Roy, 217-9888), and is free. Push the Button is permanently installed outside the Stumbling Monk (1635 E Olive Way); it runs 24-7 and is free.