by Simon Rees

Robin Rimbaud, a.k.a. Scanner, uses technology to push the boundaries of sensory experience. Specifically, sound recording devices, some of which he has developed himself, that bring sounds usually beyond the range of human audibility into range of perception. Katarina Matiasek, who produced the visuals of ECHO DAYS, works on scientific and cinematographic projects investigating visual perception, with an emphasis placed on memory and after-images.

Rimbaud's pseudonym refers to the 'scanning' technology that was the basis of his early sound installations in which he recorded telecommunication signals comprised of private cell-phone conversations, aircraft-to-tower communications and military codes. The recordings pulled listeners into an airspace disassociated from the gallery, one beyond the normal horizon of audibility.

ECHO DAYS splices a slow bass beat and hi-pitch flutter soundtrack with pulsating aerial pans of land- and cityscapes. Because audiences are used to watching stable cinematic imagery the strobe is disrupting and, in combination with the soundtrack, reminiscent of a dance club. The footage challenges the viewer to make the image cohere in their imagination and relies on memory of related images. Visual recall is elevated over experience. (Memories of dance clubs always surface in disconnected fragments).

The ambient soundtrack is equally complicated. At first listening the bass sounds like an edit of tribal drums, the high notes like night cries. In fact they are the cries and usually inaudible echolocation signals of bats in flight. The beats chime with the flashes of light, which obliterate the projected image. Sound and image interrupt each other rather than merge. The inference is that hearing, and music, can stand alone as primary receptor. ECHO DAYS sets a real challenge to the concept of music 'captured' on video. The tension between two elements of the work suggests that music videos that are illustrative of the songs they support, that narrate the lyric, divest the music of its specifity and special character. Moreover, the artists present an installation that lets the audience produce the final image/ memory of the work itself.

In: Gregory Burke, Simon Rees (eds.): Extended Play - art remixing music. Exhibition catalogue, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth, New Zealand 2003, p. 51