Ether Songs by Richard Broomhall


I enjoyed this piece, particularly the soundscape, but as is often the case I have a harder time decoding the meaning of the artist statement than I do the piece it is meant to describe. Perhaps you will have a better understanding.

Adopting the romantic notion of the ether as a point of departure, ETHER SONGS seeks to explore the synthesis of technology, culture and environment. The numerical basis of digital systems becomes a window through which the natural environment is re-constructed; the beauty of oilseed rape’s yellow blooms belies their ambiguity as a cultural construct. A flower, seemingly a simple signifier of nature synchronises with the pulsing waves of intangible digital information whose ebb and flow constitute this new ether. The rape flower has been remade, bent to human will through digitally facilitated genetic manipulation, nature becomes a cultural construction.
Mobile phone masts, the engines of ether, vastly populated yet lonely intersections scream forth in perpetual polyphony. Their rhythms set a cultural rhythm, a numerical rhythm; the digits from a credit card sequence and re-sequence mimicking the sub-structure of the digital image. Image value and exchange value electronically conflate. Children play a simple game, becoming cultured to harness digital structures in pursuit of digital wealth. Subjectivity focused through cultural construction – itself harnessed by the very structures it reaches to harness – a wealth homogenous with the beat that drives the rape flower’s dance.