Michael Benjamin Brown

Fire Exit

Site specific audio sculpture, 12m:15s, 2008

Fire Exit is a site-specific audio sculpture experienced in a fire escape stairwell at the Chelsea College of Art and Design. Twenty three spoken word audio tracks are played in the space (in shuffled order) describing a large coniferous tree growing in the central void. It is to be listened to while ascending and/or descending the staircase.

I like to describe this site-specific project as an audio ‘sculpture’ because it suggests the physical and three-dimensional presence of some ‘thing’. This assertion of a tree actually being within the space is furthered with the audio; when attended to it cultivates the experience of a tree -physiologically no different in the brain than if it really were there.

It was important for the tree described to be a conifer as pines have a direct relation to fire, when pyriscence allows dropped pinecones to open and release their seeds. However the presence of this tree grows through varying seasons of a poetic/metaphorical description and plain scientific detailing of it. As Gayle Chong Kwan put it in her review of this work: the tree’s matter of fact description provokes sensing concurrently “a kind of totemic presence and absence.”
click here to read Gayle Chong Kwan's review of my degree show work