Calum Stirling

Image: Comma, (video still)
Copyright the artist 2015

Tectonic Plates - : video microscope and record deck

Tectonic Plates
Sound installation

Tectonic Plates takes the viewer on a journey into the micro geography of a vinyl groove. The installation is an ongoing research project by the artist using a collection of optical and audible devices to show in micro detail the elegance and frailty of vinyl recordings in contrasting screen visualisations. The work was originally commissioned by CCA Glasgow for the Show Oroborus, the Music of the Spheres in 2004.

One monitor plays a live feed of the groove magnified 100x using a circuit board inspection scope. On the other monitor a video flythrough down the record groove is played on a loop. This 3-minute video depicts a custom-made vinyl flexi disk rotating at half a revolution per minute from the view of a stylus. The video traverses an eerie route through a valley landscape that is at once convincing and oddly artificial. The soundtrack to this strange imagery is the low rumbling of the stylus against the groove’s walls. Stirling produced this version of Tectonic Plates from a computer-generated model of the groove’s terrain using an ultra high scan of three revolutions of the record surface.
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Tectonic Plates was shortlisted for an award at the Stuttgart expanded Media Festival in 2004.