we, 2008

6 channel audio installation, weather baloons and surveillance station

we is a collaborative work by Yevgeniya Kaganovich, Dale Kaminski and Mat Rappaport inspired by the dystopic novel We by Yevgeny Zamyatin. The piece is included in the exhibition Under Surveillance” at the John Michael Kohler Center for the Arts, Kohler, Wisconsin from June 29 through September 28th, 2008.


we is a generative audio surveillance work which collects sound from an array of microphones attached to weather balloons. The balloons are arranged in a grid and held in place by stanchions. The sounds are accessed at an elevated listening station by headphones. The microphones are adjusted to pick up the sound from the area under each balloon. The signals are fed to the listening station where they are reprocessed and combined with samples and prerecorded passages from the novel WE. The result is a soundscape which convolutes time and location and creates a sonic collection of the activities within the space. Only one person may listen in at a time, hearing the conversation going on within the gallery as well as sounds collected within the last minute or so – perhaps even hearing themselves. 


From the Kohler Center press release:

Civil Liberties Opens at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center This summer, the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, opens three powerful new exhibitions: Vested Interest, Michele Pred: (dis)possessions, and Under Surveillance. Each exhibition centers on the theme of Civil Liberties. Admission to Arts Center exhibitions always is free. Civil liberties form the foundation of our free society. Freedom of speech, religion, assembly and the right to vote are some of the ideals that Americans highly value and protect. The expression of an idea in art is a civil liberty that some artists have embraced to create significant statements about social issues, current events, or politics. The contemporary artists whose works are represented in this series of exhibitions take advantage of their civil liberties to address topics of personal import. They offer garments, installation works, sculptures, performances, and videos that reflect different perspectives on concepts such as personal and public identity, labor issues, stereotyping, confiscation, and surveillance. … Are you being watched? In today’s society, we balance our rights to privacy with an increased need for security. In Under Surveillance (June 29–September 28), artists William Betts, Yasmine Chatila, Daniel Goodwin, Yevgeniya Kaganovich, Dale Kaminski, Golan Levin, Trevor Paglen, and Mat Rappaport exploit modern surveillance technology or create new ways of “watching.” Each work of art addresses and comments on the increasing use of observation to monitor contemporary life.