The Will to Synchronize is a collaborative arrangement in three acts—objects made from vocal recordings, choreographed performance, and installation—that query the nexus, control, and evolution of relationships as they move into the state-regulated bubble of online space. As socialization becomes an increasingly mechanical meditation, The Will to Synchronize works to materialize how we store memory: inside the installation, performers and viewers interact with objects that have been rendered from sound in a recursive process of cleaning, tending, and preservation. As the sound recordings that have been transformed into object(ified) data are continually processed over the course of the exhibition, The Will to Synchronize points to the revolutionary power of different ways in which we interpret and translate in order to connect when daily social interaction migrate online.
Photos by Joe Freeman
Freeman’s project began by asking big questions: Are we connected to people? How can we measure, store, process our connections? What of social media? How are our connections surveilled?
Rather than a clinical assessment, Freeman went phenomenological. She asked 65 people to briefly describe an object, memory, ritual or dream that gives them solace. Responses were recorded. The recordings were rendered into prints of soundwaves through a visualizer. Freeman lathe-carved rolls of polymer clay based on these images. In this game of telephone from breath to bytes to material object, there is a loss of data, of specificity—but is there a loss of sentiment?
The original sound cannot be reproduced. (Even a recording is imperfect.) Does it matter that even the original speaker may not know which object was generated from their recording? Even if the objects cannot reasonably signify the precise thought that was their genesis, they eloquently signify a fundamental search for peace despite our material frailty.
The little thought-objects look like rugose invertebrates—fragile and ready to irrevocably disappear, like a sound. Wires leading from each piece converge in a bundle within the dais atop which they are displayed. Each wire passes through another lump of clay bearing the impression of Freeman’s own hand. (Freeman clutches the clay with one hand while carving.)
An assistant affixes peces at the workbench in Julia Freeman’s The Will to Synchronize at METHOD Gallery. Image courtesy of the artist and METHOD Gallery.
Sounds leak in the room from the street. A score by Spencer Ramsey beeps quietly then soars with synths at turns. Freeman’s work bench sits empty at the far end of the room, dusty and disordered beneath a single incandescent bulb.
The artist doesn’t offer answers to the big questions, but while pondering these questions and more, most metrics by which we might qualify or quantify human connection feel inadequate. Viewed another way, the measure of connection and synchrony is inconsequential. The pursuit, the will to peace and understanding, however, becomes everything, even if everything amounts to little more than a lump of clay.
On display at METHOD Gallery through January 6, 2018.
- These sound waves were turned into objects -
Thanks to these people
Sound composition - Spencer Ramsey
Video engineering - Molly Mac and Steven Miller
Performances - Andrew Brown and Donnell Williams
Space and construction engineer - Paul D. McKee
Editing and talking through ideas - Kemi Adeyemi, Jed Murr and Dan Paz
Thanks to everyone who participated and helped make this project.