Theoretical Audio Laboratory

This has been a nice, long walk to get here. Here being the beginning of a project from which I’ve been assembling materials and ideas throughout the pandemic.

I made a joke to myself a while back that goes “if you don’t have someone to play with, play with yourself.” And then I laughed to myself. And so, I’ve created the Theoretical Audio Laboratory in which to conduct my experiments. Sound Experiments (SEx)! And even Song Experiments.

This is turning out to be quite a hoot. Stay tuned. Or, detuned. Please stay!


Anatomy of a Crime Scene

No. 8 in the crime scene series, this time on a ship in deep space.

Joie de Vivre

Found & Chosen: Letters

Following up on my previous Found & Chosen post, I found these letters over the course of several days’ walking. I’ve deducted that these were thrown away by contractors renovating an old house, and they must have blown out of a dumpster. I’ve obscured the corresponder’s names.

A todo list
The Back of a todo list

These scraps stirred my imagination, and I toyed with scripting them into an animation – both, literally read, and loosely based upon the content of these papers. I didn’t get anywhere interesting, so I’ll shelve the idea for now. The actual papers went into a time capsule my girlfriend made to archive the pandemic time in our life.

I find the following letters very intriguing!

Water based ink from a fountain pen, inspirational quotes, and a lost tobacco pouch. Love AND Joy.

I learned this about the Hudson River State Hospital.

The Hudson River State Hospital, is a former New York state psychiatric hospital which operated from 1873 until its closure in the early 2000s. The campus is notable for its main building, known as a “Kirkbride,” which has been designated a National Historic Landmark due to its exemplary High Victorian Gothic architecture, the first use of that style for an American institutional building. It is located on US 9 on the Poughkeepsie-Hyde Park town line.
The entire facility was built over the last three decades of the 19th century, at great cost. Once complete, it would be used as intended for much of the first half of the next century. As psychiatry moved away from inpatient treatments, it began to decline in use until its closure at century’s end. Today, it is slowly deteriorating out of public view as it awaits reuse.

There are fantastic photos of the hospital in various states of ruin – I’m not going to link to any sites, but a Google search will show wonderful photos.


The King’s Roads

I was invited to participate in a diorama project called The Yonder Cabinet by Kelley Bell and Melissa Penley Cormier, where “a card catalog reimagined as a collection of artists’ interpretations of their favorite literary places.” I received a box which can fit inside a retired library card catalog.

I had a hard time choosing what illustrate. Wandering through my favorite books, I came up with several great diorama scene candidates.

  • Jack Audrey and Stephen Maturin playing music in Jack’s cabin of the HMS Surprise, from one of Patrick O’Brian’s novels
  • The five horsemen in Terry Pratchett’s The Thief of Time, riding out against the auditors.
  • Miniature War on his horse in his back yard, surveying a battle of ants, while Death looks on. Also from The Thief of Time
  • Martin Chatwin as the Beast in Lev Grossman’s The Magicians
  • Fat Charlie talking to the Bird Woman in Anansi Boys
  • A scene from The Sandman
  • Etc.

Hopefully you get the idea.

I chose a passage from Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. I love this book, and Clarke’s approach to magic.

In this part of the story, Mr. Strange walks into a mirror, and travels on the King’s Road to a woman’s sitting room. This road belonged to John Uskglass, also known as the Black King, the King of the North, and most commonly, the Raven King. He was the ruler of Northern England for over 300 years and is accredited with bringing magic to England.

Full diorama, a large rectangular box showing a blue ribbon of road twist through a night sky into a sitting room. Jonathan Strange is leaning out of a mirror over a fireplace while two people look on.
Christopher Drawlight and Maria Bullworth are stunned to see Mr. Strange emerging from a mirror over the fireplace.
Full diorama, a large rectangular box showing a blue ribbon of road twist through a night sky into a sitting room. Jonathan Strange is leaning out of a mirror over a fireplace while two people look on.
The King's Road
Full diorama, a large rectangular box showing a blue ribbon of road twist through a night sky into a sitting room. Jonathan Strange is leaning out of a mirror over a fireplace while two people look on.

I made this diorama from memory, as I couldn’t place my hands on my old copy of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. I mistakenly remembered the Mirror being over the fireplace. I only realized the error after it wad complete.

I enjoyed making this very much. I believe the final catalog will be on view at Maryland Art Place.


7×7 a most exquisite corpse

Sometime in the summer of 2019, I discovered The Wrong Heaven by Amy Bonnaffons. I went to the book’s website, and discovered her other project, 7×

From the 7×7 website:

Launched in 2015 to facilitate a new kind of interdisciplinary collaboration, each 7×7 invites one visual artist and one writer to engage in a two-week creative conversation. The format, inspired by Surrealist games of the early 20th century, challenges participants to improvise, in their respective disciplines, a spontaneous story that pushes into ever-wilder imaginative terrain. Every finished 7×7 is singular, unclassifiable, and wholly original.


Finding Surrealist games irresistable, I signed up.

Beginning March 1st, Olivia Kingery and I began to volley work back and forth for 14 days. The full results of our collaboration can be found ______. It would be inappropriate and a copyright violation for me to share the completed game here, but I can share my side of the road.

I went first.

A female Skelton in repose.
I started things off with this painting, Pentimento, which is part of an animation I’m working on. It’s the product of the animation.
A woman's legs under water, walking - the scene is in a metal tin sitting on a painting of the ocean.
Strawberry Hermit is my response to the first response.
A woman and a human sized fish in a red room.
#3 straddles a thin, taught line.
A skeleton cowgirl lassoing a bunch of plastic action figures.
The Control Protocol Lasso Dance Hall is probably my favorite of these babies.
A cut paper hand making a shadow animal in a metal tin.
If man is five… if man is five. #5.
An altoid tin with several faces nested in it.
A skeleton hand making the AOK sign, with a blue eye looking through the circle made by the thumb and first finger. A tag reads 'fin?'

If you like this sort of thing, go check ’em out.