Echo Chamber (Project DivFuse, 2021) is a multichannel sound installation that explores the notions of routine and domesticity in times of pandemic. Composed from field recordings created during lockdown walkabouts and the performance of humdrum activities, the work interrogates the role that repetition plays in our everyday lives.
The sound pieces are accompanied by a series of drawings. These works were created in parallel to the recordings and act as a visual anchor to the sound installation. Made with basic materials such as children’s crayons, the drawings depict, in part, portraits of the couple’s daughter, and aim to evoke a sense of play and the familial by employing everyday pictorial language.
Echo Chamber is the first exhibition in the Intro : spect series under Project DivFuse, where selected artists are invited to showcase their media-based work on site as a checkpoint of their long term artistic development.
Field recordings, drawings and montage by Ilia Rogatchevski & Laura Rogatchevskaia.
Special thanks to Graham Dunning, Phillip Raymond Goodman, Sarah Nicol, Leo Sheek & Dan Wilsen for donating their radio sets.
“We had made several field recordings, over the course of a year, using portable zoom recorders and our phones. These sounds were captured while taking our daughter out to the playground or during our Government-mandated ‘exercise walks’. In addition to the field recordings, we had captured the electromagnetic map of those locations using a VLF receiver, which is the intermittent noise you can hear in the installation. So, there is an acoustic and an electromagnetic presence in there.
The installation utilises twelve portable transistor radios, four mp3 players and four mini-FM transmitters. The recordings were sequenced and bounced into four separate tracks and split across the mp3 players, each set to a different frequency. I can’t recall exactly what the frequencies are, but we found empty spaces between the stations and used those. In a sense, we created four new stations, each broadcasting – or minicasting, if you will – a section of the composition.
Only three out of the twelve radios are ever active at the same time. The others, which are not active, will either emit a hum or stay silent. This goes on an indefinite loop, occasionally going out of sync.
The radios are a shorthand for domesticity. Everyone has a radio in their kitchen, pretty much. During the height of the pandemic, Radio 4 was in panic mode and constantly on in our house. It was the background to everything we did for a significant amount of time. The mini-FM transmitters have a very small range, about the size of the Project DivFuse room. This is also evocative of domestic space to which we had all been confined in 2020/21.
The sound loop, coupled with the film looping on the wall, is reminiscent of the repetitive nature that our daily lives had taken. The film is a collection of still photographs of drawings made for the Indestructible Energy Zine (featured previously in the Wire’s Unofficial Channels column). The theme was time. Laura’s drawings focused on our daughter as the subject, looking at the way her face changed as she grew. My abstract drawings materialised out of time spent together with our daughter doodling and mark making. Both sets were made on square origami paper using children’s art materials.”
Ilia Rogatchevski in conversation with Deborah Nash for Wire magazine.