High Fidelity Wasteland I: 100 Year Old Quicksilver Cloud

100 Year Old Quicksilver Cloud is the first work in High Fidelity Wasteland – an audio-centric trilogy that experiments with the material waste left over from generations of decomposing sound reproduction technology.

Wading into the toxic haze of early transmission infrastructure, this installation sonifies the decaying atmosphere inside a thyratron – a 100 year old vacuum tube radiating a cloud of blue ionized mercury. Vacuum tubes generated, amplified and controlled some of the earliest flows of electrons signalling the start of widespread communication networks – radio, tv, telephony, computing. Though produced prior to practices of planned obsolescence and outliving industrial lifecycles of technology today, the decommissioned liquified metals of the thyratron represent one of the multitude of ruinous substrates of post industrial ecology.

Audio produced in collaboration with AGF (aka Antye Greie-Ripatti)
Technical support provided by Daniel Stigler

Commissioned by transmediale – festival for art and digital culture Berlin as part of the culture program related to Canada’s Guest of Honour presentation at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2020.Produced with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Government of Canada.

Further sponsorship provided by Martion – Audiosysteme.