Thursday, June 28, 2007

Wired For Sound

Pomme de Parterre

A Hinterland Who's Who

This is Jardin de Métis and it is here that we found ourselves to construct a curious confection. A half-submerged clapboard shed with a roof as big as an aircraft wing, houses a chirping, talking and blinking battery powered by local Gaspé potatoes. The shed is surrounded by planted heritage variety potatoes which are bordered by marigolds and a simple wooden walkway. Some 1200 potatoes within the shed, each pierced with a pair of metal electrodes roughly the size of a stick of Wrigley's gum, sit, spiked on nails on narrow shelves and are connected by red sheathed wires to a 12 different mason jars. Each jar contains its own innards of wires, a single clear LED and an electronic chip and in turn is connected to a 4"x 4" plastic speaker. The speakers, controlled by the chips and powered by the potatoes emit uniquely tuned beeps, bops, chirps and squawks. Each beep is preceded by a short pulse from the LED that is not unlike a firefly's spark. The effect, when standing in the shed, is strangely funny, irritating, mesmerizing and eventually meditative. Your first reaction is to laugh.

Dave posted this short video recently and the folks at Jardin de Métis have posted the photos you'll see in the Flickr set. Just think of this as Potato Power.

Click here to witness the power of patates!

It should be said that the week we were in Mont Joli or (wherever it was we actually stayed) was intensely social. We were housed with other artists and designers and every night there was a large gathering of people making supper, drinking beer and doing dishes. Being out of cell phone range, without Internet access, without television, radio or newspapers was disarming at first but you got used to it. I suppose it forced you to be social. Without our commodities, all we were left with was our humanity.

... and potatoes.


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