OISTAT sound working group “Laptop Connection”. Designed, created and realised by Steve Brown, Joe Pino, David Huston and Rick Thomas.
Businessmen on their way home from work, families passing through the station; a couple mid-argument and just a general hustle and bustle of people stop and create a crowd around a woman in a black leotard. She is dancing and throwing herself around the floor in time with the sounds around her. She creates a focal point for the passers by and audience. She is entrancing to watch as she leaps high into the air then tumbles to the ground. She tosses her agile body into positions that would make most of our eyes water; she then rolls herself up into a tiny ball before lifting her entire body weight up into a handstand in one easy and swift movement.
When we spoke to Steve Brown we enquired about whom she was and where she was from – he had no idea and to his knowledge she had not been invited by him or his colleagues, however she drew the crowds in and so brought attention to the sound installation that was going on so everyone was happy!
Artists and designers involved – Richard Thomas, Dave Swenson, Ian Hunter, Ron Shoemaker, Jason Ducat, Rob James, Matt Brisbin, Andrea Cohen, Wiska Radkiewicz, Fabian Winkler, Harold Mueller and La Muse en Circuit.
Destinations : Paris, Prague, San Francisco, West Layette and Lake Constance.“Laptop Connections” is an installation/performance that was created in real time by sound designers and composers positioned in Prague and in various locations all around the world. Using four different teams live sounds were recorded in their locations, these included Pier 39, which is a Sea Lion Colony in San Francisco, tourist areas and public areas of people talking. These sounds were then recorded, processed and rebroadcast in its new environment for a completely different event.
Interview with Steve Brown: He is the Sound Design Project Leader of Scenofest and Head of Sound for The Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester as well as being a Freelance sound designer.
What was the concept behind the Sound Installation today?
The main underlying theme of this installation is inspired by the function of the Scenofest itself, the bridging of gaps between different societies and cultures. We were walking over Charles Bridge a couple of years ago in February 2005 thinking about what we could do as a sound installation in Scenofest. The main thing that struck us was the relation between this bridge and Scenofest’s intentions – the bridging of gaps over rivers, across countries, continents and the world. We originally wanted to install speakers within the statues so that they could speak and tell stories of what they had seen over the 100 years but unfortunately it was technically impossible as well as expensive. So instead I begun thinking again and after seeing all the buskers on the street I thought, why don’t we all just busk, set up a load of laptops that could be connected to various people over the world. We were unfortunately told that we couldn’t use Charles Bridge so after searching most of Prague I found this place (Masarykovo Station). Luckily Telefonica said that they would fund this installation for us essentially making this dream a reality.
How is this idea working technologically at the moment?
It seems to be working really well. Everyone seems to have their internet connections up and running at the moment. We originally wanted to use WIFI to connect us across continents but it was proving difficult working out similar upgrade and download speeds for us all. Instead we are using computers that are all just connected to the stations internet connection.