Monthly Archives: July 2009

Sound of Ebb: Super Mario Bros.

Name: Tiffany W.
Location: Canada (currently, Oxford, UK)


1) Super Mario Bros. Starman Theme

The first selection is the Super Mario Bros. Starman Theme. For those unfamiliar with this game, whenever the main video game character, Mario, catches a star, he becomes super energized for a period of about one minute where he flashes multi-colours and is invincible – able to defeat any enemy in his path. However, this is only short lived invincibility and he eventually returns to normal.

This is the sound of pre-recession expresses feelings of invincibility – the fun-hyperkinetic pace without knowledge that it would soon end. Many of us, especially those of the age who grew up playing the original Super Mario Bros. video games felt as if our childhood times of properity and economic security provided by our families would continue into our adulthood. The linear progression of working hard in school, endless extracurricular activities (swimming, math, piano/violin lessons), getting a post-secondary school degree in whatever we loved to do were meant to make us ‘well-rounded’ individuals capable of making our individual dreams come true. Now we’re back to reality.

2) Super Mario Bros. Game Over Theme

The second selection is the Super Mario Bros. Game Over Theme. Even if Mario has captured a star to become invicible, he can fall into a hole – you are then prompted by the game console to try again or quit the game entirely and it’s game over.

This is the sound of the recession. Sweet and simple – this six second sound byte expresses that things have slowed down and we can choose to try again or admit that it’s tryly Game Over. Our feelings of invincibility is gone. As the Nintendo generation that grew up with this video game recognize nostalgically these sounds, we also realise that making childhood dreams come true is not a linear progression from being a good kid in school and learning to play the piano/soccer to having a viable and satisfying career that will support a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Not too extravagant, but reasonably comparable to our affluent upbringing capable of combining amusements with hardwork.

This theme, like the Starman theme, and the Nintendo kids, is still somewhat upbeat, compelling you to try again and keep playing. It’s of course easier to shut down the game and cry about it. But what’s the point? There’s already too much bleakness and not enough optimism about the recession even when history (and basic economics) has proven developed economies to recover eventually. No matter how long that takes – that is the pattern.

So, that’s what we have to do: try again even if the economic, pundits, journalists and academics continue to tell us that it’s game over.

Leave a comment

Filed under Canada, Sound of Ebb

Sound of Ebb: Pound a Bowl

Name: Kevin Logan
Location: London, UK

Title: Pound a Bowl
Description: The practice of selling a bowl of a particular fruit or veg’ for a pound is obviously geared towards people on lower incomes.

This is the obverse of the relatively recent trend towards rather expensive ‘organic’ produce.

The composition is both a study of the performative nature of traditional street hawkers, and an observation on the socio-economic patterns in food consumption.

Leave a comment

Filed under London, Sound of Ebb

Sound of Ebb: The Day Martina Was Born

Name: Patrick Hough
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Title: “The Day Martina Was Born”
‘The day Martina was born’ is a short experimental radio piece based on the oral history’s and stories passed on by the artists Uncle, who’s family grew up near Fanad head, County Donegal Ireland. Many of the stories passed on recounted the terrible poverty that faced the people of Ireland throughout the country’s history, memory’s of which faded fast in the country’s boom years of the Celtic tiger. Now that we once again face into the abyss of economic crisis these story’s and history’s of a not so distant Ireland remerge. This piece seeks to capture the atmosphere of these oral history’s incorporating all the embellishment and hyperbole that comes with them.

Leave a comment

Filed under Sound of Ebb, United Kingdom

Sound of Ebb: piece #45

Name: Martin Lukanov
Location: Sofia, Bulgaria

Title: piece #45
Description: Six different news articles about the upcoming (now past) parliament and prime minister elections in Bulgaria, the world economic crisis and influence on the bulgarian economics summarized in Bulgarian morse code.

Leave a comment

Filed under Bulgaria, Sound of Ebb

Sound of Ebb: For Ebb (Falling)

Name: Song-Ming Ang
Location: London, UK
Title: For Ebb (Falling)
Description: When there is a recession people are poor. Some resort to stealing. This is a poor man’s version of James Tenney’s “For Ann (Rising)”.

Leave a comment

Filed under Sound of Ebb, United Kingdom

Sound of Ebb: Field Recording of One Dollar Deflating for One Minute at a -1.4% Inflation Rate

Name: Jonathon Keats
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Title and description of work: “Field Recording of One Dollar Deflating for One Minute at a -1.4% Inflation Rate”

Artist biography:
Jonathon Keats is a conceptual artist, fabulist, and critic residing in San Francisco, California, USA. Most recently he choreographed the first ballet for honeybees at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. He has also exhibited extraterrestrial abstract artwork at the Judah L. Magnes Museum, unveiled a prototype ouija voting booth for the 2008 election at the Berkeley Art Museum, attempted to genetically engineer God in a petri dish in collaboration with scientists at the University of California, opened the world’s first porn theater for houseplants in Bozeman, Montana, and petitioned Berkeley to pass a fundamental law of logic, a work commissioned by the city’s annual Arts Festival. His projects have been internationally documented by PBS, NPR, and the BBC World Service, garnering favorable attention in periodicals ranging from The San Francisco Chronicle and The Washington Post, to Nature and New Scientist, to Flash Art and ArtUS. Additionally, Keats
serves as the art critic for San Francisco Magazine and as a columnist for both Artweek and Wired Magazine. He’s the author of two novels and an award-winning collection of stories recently published by Random House, as well as museum catalogue essays, monographs, and artist’s books, and he is currently writing a book on linguistics for Oxford University Press. Since graduating summa cum laude from Amherst College in 1994, he has been a visiting artist at California and Montana State Universities, and a guest lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, as well as the recipient of Yaddo and MacDowell fellowships. He has exhibited in festivals and at galleries internationally and is represented by Modernism Inc. in San Francisco.

Leave a comment

Filed under Sound of Ebb, United States

Personal Text: Ellen McMahill, Sacramento, CA

Ellen McMahill
Sacramento, CA USA

In the last few months since the stock market took a dive and the world economies have changed radically, I have thought more about what that could mean to us all. We are all connected and if we did not believe that before, it is apparent now.

With all that has happened including the steady deterioration of our world environment, I believe that we are giving ourselves the opportunity to change the way we perceive our lives and how we go about living on a daily basis. In the last few years many were building their futures on the steady rise of values in the stock market and were delaying what they really wanted to do with their lives until they retired. I would say from experience that most people work at the jobs they have because they need to survive and pay for what they think they want in life (a house, car, etc.) and not because they love what they are doing, which is a denial of the possible beauty of each day of our lives.

In the past this was acceptable, but now I think that people want more because as always, we are evolving and evolution is about change and making everything better. Evolution is also struggle and learning and awareness. Without the struggle of our present situations we could not evolve into a world populated by people who understand more about themselves and therefore others. Human beings do not learn when everything is easy and comfortable and happy all the time. Whether or not we realize it, we are happiest (in a deep down satisfying way) when we are learning and have challenges to meet. By having challenges, we use our creative minds to find solutions and feel genuinely joyous when the challenges are overcome and we have succeeded in doing what seemed impossible before.

Now is that time in the lives of most people. We have the opportunity to reevaluate the value of material things, to understand the transient and flimsy happiness that material goods bring us. Good questions to ask ourselves at times like this are – What is important to me? What can I live without and still be happy? What am I thankful for? What is good in my life? What do I want to change and how can I change it? What will make me happy really and over a long period of time?

We may think we know the answers to these questions until we begin to answer them honestly to ourselves and then the truth may really set us free and on to a different road than the one we’ve previously been going down.

I personally know that if you want to change your life into the one you want it is possible and the changes are never ending and an adventure not to be missed. You can develop new attitudes and perspectives with your own determination and desire to be who you really are.

I have moved several times in the last few years, paring my possessions down to what can fit into a van in order to pursue my desire to paint and to see the world in ways I never thought of before. Since 1977 I have been through two divorces, had a family of two children (grown up now), been through a house foreclosure after the second, messy divorce, terrible debt, worked many hours at jobs I didn’t particularly liked in order to survive, sold my truck and bought a bike, moved from Florida to Los Angeles and rode my bicycle as my only transportation while working a decent job and continuing to learn more about everything, especially art and painting (I have a degree in art from Florida State University). I’ve been through terrible heartache, and joyous, beautiful moments. I started as a nervous, shy child and extremely emotional young adult and older adult until mediation and a desire to change my perspectives about life led me into a more peaceful place of more understanding and learning though I will always have more to learn. I’m 58 years old and still riding my bicycle as my transportation, painting every day and enjoying every minute and paying attention to the world and those around me.

I have great hopes for everyone in the world to grow and love more as we all struggle to understand that the more we understand ourselves and are honest with ourselves, the more we will feel compassion and goodwill towards all others in the world and towards this place where we live.

Leave a comment

Filed under Personal text, United States