WHAT IS THE SOUND OF ONE FLAG BURNING? (2017)
performance, video, vinyl record

A collaborative project that combines political demonstration with philosophical reflection on recording technology. In 2016 I created an audio recording of a public flag burning in response to rising neonational sentiment in the US and in light of then president-electís threat to imprison those responsible for a similar event.

The project suggests a double homage: firstly, to American artist Dread Scott’s 1988 What is the Proper Way to Display a US Flag?, a work that invited participants to step on an American flag and which prompted President Bush Senior's support of legislation that subsequently prohibited such acts. Secondly, the project alludes to Iannis Xenakis’s 1958 work Concrete PH, a musique concrète composition that consists entirely of the sound of a single burning ember. Invoking musique concrète composer Pierre Schaeffer’s notion of acousmatics—wherein recordings are imagined as capable of removing all reference to a sound’s source—the project asks: to what extent can sound reliably evidence acts of transgression?

The project comprises a single-channel video documenting the original demonstration event along with a double-sided 50-edition vinyl record. Side A of the record features the flag-burning recording while Side B consists of two original contributions by artist Samson Young.