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Triplight, 2008

Dynamic light sculpture
1955 Shure microphone, light, electronic components 
Dimensions variable (wall shadow approx. 5mx5m variable)
Edition of 2

08.04. - 08.05.2022

As an American cultural icon, the 1955 Shure Microphone, the central element in Camille Norment's installation, is said to symbolize 'the golden years’. A time when freedom was achieved through new technology and economic growth. Consumption gave people a new freedom to act and make choices. During this time, ads took over public space to a large degree and resulted in an ever-growing awareness of the impact of targeted communication. Speaking through radio, TV, newspapers, glossy magazines, or political pamphlets demanded different rhetorical skills. President Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first to use TV commercials in his elections campaign (1952-1056). Some have claimed that using images combined with a short text made him win.

Camille Norment has tempered with the microphone icon; the amplifier has exchanged place with a light bowl. The microphone housing contains a bright piercing light that casts a complicated shadow on its surroundings. The iconic cultural object is turning into a metal mask. A visual rhetorical image of a ribcage is drawn on the exhibition walls.

​"Silence remains, inescapably, a form of speech (in many instances, of complaint or indictment) and an element in a dialogue." Susan Sontag, "Silence," 1967.

The title Triplight refers to a trigger that sets off a state of alarm. It also refers to 'trip the light fantastic,' a historical reference to a type of dance and a state of hallucination more recently.

Periodically at random intervals, the light flickers, and like a bulb, it casts rays of light. Is it the silent noise of social realities and suppressed voices that are recorded in the shadow? 

Like the use of 'glitches' in contemporary music, and how 'noise' is used to represent a psychological state, conceptually reflecting the unstable negotiation between the experience of the body and its struggle for articulation.

As in the golden years of the 50s, a new radical form of activism has taken residence in Black Lives Matter. Triplight tells parallel stories of its time and mirrors our own, beautifully revealing contradictions in the silent stutter of its unstable light. It talks about how we are linked to time and what we do and do not have consequences.

The cultural icon, the 1955 Shure Microphone, evokes sounds and images of black power.

The icon makes us hear the jazz and the voice of Martin Luther King, who broke boundaries of intolerance and borders. The icon associates with the post-civil rights movement and encourages community self-reliance and pride.

Multimedia artist Camille Norment’s work utilizes the notion of cultural psychoacoustics as both an aesthetic and conceptual framework. She defines this term as the investigation of socio-cultural phenomena through sound and music - particularly instances of sonic and social dissonance, and works through sound as a force over the body, mind, and society. While highly concerned with aesthetic experience, the work simultaneously spans the thresholds of the social and the political, often utilizing specific cultural symbols from various social realms, as ‘quiet’, but potent elements in the work.

(Photo:  David Olivera)

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