Absolute Value of Noise || Magnetic South

Magnetic South (2013) is a sound piece by Canadian artist Peter Courtemanche.

Living in Canada, the word “South” is often synonymous with the Sun. South is the place where light and warmth come from.

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“I set up my ELF (low frequency magnetic wave) receiver, pointed it at the sun at different times of the day, and made a series of short recordings of the resulting radiation patterns. The sounds are a blend of local and distant magnetic mutterings that resemble a science-fiction movie soundtrack from the 60s or 70s.
I imagine this piece to be the soundtrack for a cinematic rendition of Valeri Briusov’s The Republic of the Southern Cross (written in 1907) – a story about a fictitious and doomed social democracy located at the South Pole.

This sound piece was orchestrated by software – a generative “radio mixer” that creates a new version of the work every time it is played. I use this software in much of my radio work, and also to mix a four-hour late night weekly radio show (the absolute value of insomnia) on CITR FM in Vancouver.”

Peter Courtemanche is a contemporary sound and installation artist from Vancouver. He creates radio, installations, network projects, performances, curatorial projects, and handmade CD editions. His art works often have a literary basis – inspired by narrative texts and the history of specific installation sites. He uses a variety of gadgets – custom turntables, lamp filaments, wire coils, high voltage ionizers, ELF/VLF receivers, motors, magnets, and solar-power. His work has shown across Canada and in Europe.