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Videos: Brian House

Brian House, Brian House interview, Changing Ringing FM, Earth band, Fourty-Eight to Sixteen, Hubble band, Keith Jarrett, media artist, media artist interview, Quotidian Record, Wave Farm, You’ll Just Have to Take My Word for ItFueled by “rice, beans and books,” Brian House is a media artist with an intriguing style. His art “traverses alternative geographies, experimental music, and a critical data practice.”

In 2012 and this year, House has shared a few projects in which data is shared through sound. In “You’ll Just Have to Take My Word for It,” a scandal becomes a score; with “Quotidian Record,” visitations are spun into vinyl; and a cello goes cycling in “Fourty-Eight to Sixteen.”

House’s most recent project is Changing Ringing (FM), described on his website as “an hourly broadcast chimes events from the surrounding geography.” As for future works, the artist tells The Spec, ” I think some personal deep listening in the mountains in Colorado is in order this summer. I’ll begin to think about new projects in the fall.”

House has a degree in computer science from Columbia University, a degree in art from Chalmers University in Sweden, and is currently a doctoral student at Brown University. His work has been displayed in numerous galleries, venues, museums and publications, including MoMa (NYC)Stockholm‘s KulturhusetIssue Project RoomThe New York Times, Spin, and TIME.

Read more from our interview with House below, and watch a few of his projects in video form…


The Spec: Will you briefly explain how Forty-Eight to Sixteen, Quotidian Record, …Take My Word For It came to be? What inspired them? Do you have a favorite of the three?
Brian House: Forty-Eight to Sixteen probably is, or will be, the most resonate for me personally, as it reflects a very specific moment in my life, and in the life of the city I love. But all of the pieces came from thinking about the relationship between data, time, and personal narrative. We are at a point in history where the reification of everyday life into data is being accomplished for purposes of commodification and control. I find the dynamics of Facebook and the surveillance by the NSA equally frightening. So these projects are an attempt to relate to data differently, in an embodied and subjective way, that welcomes ambiguity and interpretation.

TS: Music and sounds are a big part of your projects. Even now, you’re a doctoral student studying Music and the Modern Culture — what is one undeniable truth you’ve come to realize about music?
BH: That no system fully encapsulates what can be experienced with music, and there is no limit to the means by which we might approach it.

TS: Who are some creatives, from the past or present, that you are a big fan of?
BH: From the past, Richard Long‘s work has been inspirational, as has that of Dan Graham. Current practitioners that blow my mind are Jamie Allen, Caroline Woolard, Alberto Frigo, Luke DuBois and Matt Bua.

TS: You note “rhythms of every day life” being related to the work you do — what are some of your favorite “ordinary” sounds?
BH: Rhythms don’t necessarily have to be sonic. It’s the gestures that attract me, the way you encode yourself into habitual actions, whether that’s how you make oatmeal, the style of your gait, or how you enter a room. That said, sounds are important too. Like frogs, buses braking when you’re at least nine stories above them, street basketball, the moment my partner’s breath changes when she falls asleep, snow, lawnmowers in the distance, elks bugling (though I guess that’s not ordinary).

TS: Who are some of your favorite musicians and/or who are some musicians you’ve been listening to lately?
BH: I really enjoy Ben Greenberg‘s work under the name Hubble, from Brooklyn. I’ve also been listening to a lot of Keith Jarrett recently, as well as the band Earth, which is unstoppable.

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