Joshua Parker

click here to go back

kent state, sculpture, alumni, conceptual art, josh parker

<click here to watch movie >

<click for more views>

The Sound of Hurricane Gustav Reaching the Coast of Louisiana as Recorded from My Backyard, and Re-Imagined for Northeastern Ohio.

Manipulated sound and objects

I recorded The Sound of Hurricane Gustav Reaching the Coast of Louisiana, at 5:45 am on September 1st 2008 from my backyard in Northeastern Ohio. I did this by following its progress on television, and when I saw the storm reach the coast I went out my back door and recorded its impact. This recording sounded like crickets and other pre-dawn insects. I looped and manipulated this sound, adjusting the resonance of the frequency until it sounded like massive wind gusts and hurricane force winds, and recorded a live track of this performance. This is the sound accompanying the warning beacon, whose rotating top triggers a light sensor. This warning gives bursts of electricity to a propeller, which blows the water in dog bowl in a circular motion. This motion is set against a laminated picture of the Cleveland night skyline. I was not trying to recreate Gustav, but to imagine a hurricane in my own backyard.
Hurricane Gustav as it was originally called when it was over the Gulf of Mexico was downgraded to a tropical depression by the time it finally reached the United States. I had a hunch that this would be the case, the radar image of the storm seemed much weaker than the other hurricanes I had watched advance through the gulf. This is why I stayed up until 6:00 in the morning to record its impact (I knew the recording would be mostly of crickets, and felt that sound would be appropriate). I was particularly interested in this "Hurricane" because then president George W. Bush seemed to be so interested in it (this being politically understandable after his Katrina oversight). He was unable to speak at the Republican National Convention like he was supposed to, because he had to be at the National Weather Center in order to make sure everything was o.k. I am sure this all seemed politically perfect for the R.N.C. coordinators, knowing that in this Obama/Mccain election year, having Bush speak at the convention wouldn't really help their chances and having Bush concerned and on top of things at the National Weather Center might.
The result of this over hyping led to the largest evacuation in Louisiana's history. This conveniently imagined threat, preposterous and almost whimsical like a child's imagination.