Invitation to Listen in a Van (for Wendy Carlos)

Social sculpture. 2019. Variable dimensions. Clunker van, discography in road case, mix, neon roof beacon, hi-fi sound system with subwoofer, screen print (ed. 50), snack kit. Underrepresented composer and synthesizer innovator, Wendy Carlos grew up in Pawtucket, RI and graduated from Brown University (class of 62). She is most well-known for her 1969 album, Switched-On Bach (arrangements of Bach performed on an analog synthesizer). The album won three Grammys, sold more than one million copies and was the first classical album to go platinum. My tribute values Carlos’ influence on electronic music and her relationship to Rhode Island. For a month, I drove community members between Pawtucket and Providence while listening to a comprehensive Carlos mix I produced (now streaming on The Wire). The van I drove was modified to include a custom neon roof beacon (“TiMESTEPS”) and hi-fi sound system with subwoofer. Each passenger received a program screenprint and a snack inspired by Carlos' music. This project is for nonprofit educational purposes. With production help from Tim Bearse, Julia Gualtieri, Andrew Knox, and Kiri Miller.

The small i: "It represents the mathematical term for the imaginary number constant, defined as the square root of minus one, a concept that doesn't exist in the real world, but helps solve many equations...Math and physics people routinely refer to small i, the imaginary number. I must have picked that up from my days as a student at Brown University, when I shifted my focus, first in physics, and then in music and composition...The tiny i is located at the base of the transistor schematic, as this is the normal input for this minimal circuit component. It's all terribly clever, don't you see, that Tempi's music-notehead is a transistor, the main element of a Moog synthesizer, and it's located to amplify (are you ready?) imagination, symbolized by the imaginary number, i." [1]

[1] Wendy Carlos, Switched-on Boxed Set, “A Tale of Three Logos.” Minneapolis, MN: East Side Digital, 1999.