Net Art Sound Writing About

9_11_01 Scapes
Blauveld Mountain
Building a Universe: Part 1
Building a Universe: Part 2
Calling to Mind
Dracula's Wives
Dream Sequence
Fleeting Encounters
Monkey Run Road
North Country
Oil Pumps
Parrot Talk
Terra dell'Immaginazione
Training (for Jo)
Trying to Think


Calling To Mind (12:00) (2005): "... the electronic media are to us what nature… was to earlier times — the inescapable background against which we live our lives and from which we derive our references and meanings." (Steven Shaviro)

In 1993, I composed a short (and simple piece) entitled "In the Dark." It was made from a small sample of vocalist and percussionist David Moss' voice, which I played on a Yamaha synthesizer to create the background, and the cry of a single animal. Against the background of the human voice, the cry evoked a sense of terrible loneliness and loss. Nature on its last legs, as it were.

Calling to Mind, commissioned by Deep Wireless 2005, an annual radio festival in Toronto, Canada, is comprised of "space-time communication" in which the human voice can only just be heard and only briefly at that. No longer the stuff of which the compositional background is made, it is simply a very small part of an environment of electronic media sounds — and that's the piece.

The sounds used in Calling To Mind are drawn from 25 years of recording. They come from Alaska, upstate New York, Sweden, radio, the Internet — the many places I have been in my years of involvement with sound — places inadvertently called to mind as I composed.
9_11_01 Scapes (17:03) (2003) with Jo-Anne Green. Green began Scapes the day the World Trade Center was attacked and continued to add new pages in the aftermath. She used the only 'medium' available to her at the time: Photoshop. Her 'palette' consisted of NASA images of earth, and photographs of diatoms and Ground Zero. Each Scape consists of multiple layers: Thorington used the layers' titles, and the texts that accompanied the NASA images to weave her multilayered narrative for the Notes; and much as Green used found 'pigments', Thorington used found sounds to create the rich soundscore for the series.

The soundscore makes use of materials from Thorington's 20 year collection of recorded materials, processed found sound, and sounds from the 9.11 event recorded by New Yorkers and archived on the web site With thanks to and those who have contributed to their collection.
Adrift (10:49) (2000): a series of performance events with full sound scores performed in multiple physical locations and streamed over the Internet. Thorington wrote the texts, provided the original photographs and contributed ambient and musical selections to the sound. She also contributed live voice narratives for several performances. Adrift was performed at Ars Electronica, Linz, Austia, and at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York City.

This particular score was created by Thorington for the 1999 Adrift demo. It includes materials from earlier performances with the ensemble Nina Sobel, Emily Hartzel, Scott Rosenberg and Jesse Gilbert.
Blauvelt Mountain (39:00) (2003) Composed for Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company in 1980, this re-composed piece was recently perfomed live at Jacob's Pillow, MA and The Kitchen, New York City. (TOP)
Building a Universe, Part 1 (19:53) (1986): an experimental drama that focuses on contemporary technologies such as cloning, crossbreeding, and the ability to exchange body parts. Commissioned by New Music America, Houston, Texas, 1986. Distributed by New American Radio, 1990. (TOP)
Building a Universe, Part 2: Rifts, Absences and Omissions (26:22) (1987): Satiric and experimental new drama that focuses on the new reproductive technologies and the scientists responsible for their development. "I will get a Nobel, I will..." While shaped into dramatic scenes, the text is based on the actual statements and writings of scientists. Providing associational and causal links between sounds (an old record, semi military aerobic exercises, textbook lessons on female infanticide and the new technologies), Building A Universe creates an incredibly funny and disturbing picture of an active and unregulated new science, preparing a future with unexpected and undiscussed implications. (TOP)
Dracula's Wives (12:00) (1992): An otherworldly geography peopled by the disembodied voices of the undead; a radio film, at times operatic in its approach, about women vampires, their bond with the vampire of all vampires, Dracula. Inspired by the single reference to Dracula's wives in Bram Stoker's novel. With the vampire voices of Pamela Z and Agnieszka Waligorska, and the cello of Deidre Murray.

Dracula's Wives was commissioned by RNE (Spanish Radio) for its Madrid festival, Ciudades Invisibles. It was subsequently aired by RNE and internationally as part of the 1993 Ars Acustica Listening Project and by New American Radio.
Dream Sequence, Parts 1 2 & 3 (15:18) (1979) One of the first compositions for radio to make use of electronic processing, The Dream Sequence unfolds associationally, its lyrical text reflecting humorously on the author's rural experience and her concern for personal disappearance. (TOP)
Fleeting Encounters (20:49) (1999): eight minute version commissioned for the series A Patchwork Planet by BBC Radio 3. (TOP)
Monkey Run Road (29:50) (2003): Composed for Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company in 1980, this re-composed piece recently accompanied "Continuous Replay" at The Kitchen, New York City, 2003. (TOP)
North Country (32:00) (1995): A hypertext-inspired story for radio. North Country uses short blocks or fragments of texts to shape a web of linked ideas centering around the discovery of the bones of an unidentified woman. The cast of characters includes a forensics expert, a lawyer, a dead woman, and another woman who travels in a text based virtual world similar to the biological world once inhabited by the dead woman; a tamarack tree and the eleven Eastern woodrats remaining in New York State. With accordionist Guy Klucsevek.

North Country was commissioned by
Meet the Composer with additional funding from New York State Council on the Arts. It was distributed to U.S. public radio as part of the New American Radio series and by The Listening Room, ABC, Australia and Kunstradio, ORF, Austria. (TOP)
Oil Pumps (2:86) (1982): A duet of Texas oil pumps (Thorington) and violin (Aurora Manuel). (TOP)
Parrot Talk (5:00) (1986): Controlled insanity in sound. A work about repetition and entropy. Told with recordings from Parrot Jungle, Miami, feedback, carnival music, static and other anathema of the broadcast world. Winner of First Prize in Macrophon '91, the First International Festival of Radio Art, Wroclaw, Poland. (TOP)
Terra dell'Immaginazione (Land of the Imagination) (26:09) (1990): A sound composition in which the artist evokes a landscape and tells a story without a text. Originally commissioned as an audio installation for a riverside cave in Mattera, Italy, Terra reflects the artist's view of the place for which it was intended but which she had not as yet seen: wet, quiet, and dark but inhabited by multitudes of insects and small mammals. The story is that of a solitary person paddling through these waters. (TOP)
Training (for Jo) (5:00) (2004): with Diedre Murray, Cello. (TOP)
Trying to Think (16:28) (1974) A woman sits at her kitchen table trying to think about the drowning of two young boys who had been fishing in the river near her home. But she can't. Her mind is empty... (TOP)
Turbulence (35:22) (1997): with Joseph Celli (Yamaha WX7 midi breath controller) and Nick Didkovsky (guitar). The piece is an open-ended sound composition that centers around the theme of Turbulence. It began with Thorington's tape of an imaginary geography in which myriad sound events took place. The composition was then enlarged and altered as musicians — Celli and Didkovsky — interacted with it in real-time performances. The taped composition was revised after each performance to include aspects of the improvised materials.

Turbulence was conceived and executed by Thorington for PORT — a simultaneous presentation of digital art on the Internet and @ the List Center for Visual Arts at MIT. Performances took place at studios in NYC and via RealAudio online every Friday, January 31 through March 28, 1997.

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