Etheric Ocean || J. R. Carpenter

Etheric Ocean
J. R. Carpenter

ethericocean_450detail1 (22K)

Ether is a hypothetical medium - supposed by the ancients to fill the heavens, proposed by scientist to account for the propagation of electromagnetic radiation through space. The notion of ‘ocean’ was once as vague. Aristotle perceived of the world as a small place, bounded by a narrow river. Columbus believed the Atlantic was a much shorter distance across than we now know it to be. Even as early electromagnetic telegraphic and wireless transmissions propagating over, under, and through oceans collapsed distances between ships and shores, they revealed vast new oceans - oceans of static, oceans of noise.

Etheric Ocean is an underwater web art audio writing noise site. It is an imprecise survey of sounds both animal and mechanical, and of signs both real and imaginary, of distortions born of the difficulty of communicating through the medium of deep dense dark ocean. Like stations dotting a radio dial, murky diagrams, shifting definitions, appropriated texts, nautical associations, and wonky word plays are strung along a very long, horizontally scrolling browser window. This is a world of inversions. Sounds are deep harbours, or are they depths? Sounds purposefully unfold. Out of its element, uncannily airborne, a flying jellyfish drone wobbles about. Noises are made. Islands are Heard.

Etheric Ocean was commissioned by Electronic Voice Pheneomena, an experimental literature and new media project exploring contemporary approaches to sound, voice, technology and writing by Mercy and Penned in the Margins.

Etheric Ocean has been performed live in two voices at Museum of Water, Somerset House, London, Saturday 21 June, 2014, and at The Other Room, The Castle Hotel, Manchester, UK, 30 April 2015. Here is the poster for The Other Room event, and here is YouTube video documentation of The Other Room performance of Etheric Ocean, with Jerome Fletcher.

A short excerpt of the performance script for Etheric Ocean called this sea is nothing is sight but isles was published online in 3:AM Magazine, 2 September 2014, and a longer excerpt was published in print in The Other Room Anthology 8, edited by James Davies, Tom Jenks, and Scott Thurston, in 2016.

An academic paper on Etheric Ocean was presented at Sound Studies: Art, Experience, Politics, CRASSH, Cambridge, UK, 8 - 10 July 2015

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Pictured above: Etheric Ocean on exhibition No Legacy | Literatura Electrónica (NL||LE) in the Bernice Layne Brown Gallery of University of California Berkeley’s Doe Library 11 March - 2 September 2016.

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