William Lamson

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Divining Meteorology, 2011

100 ft tower, speakers, resonators, NOAA radio, guitar pickups, computer. , 420" x 132" x 132"


In Divining Meteorology, a work commissioned in 2011 by the Indianapolis Museum of Art, I reanimated a defunct communications tower by transforming it into an instrument. Originally designed to endure the forces of nature, this 100-foot tower had been lying in a field in Missouri before being shipped to Brooklyn, where it was cut into three sections and re-engineered as if it had collapsed inside itself. The tower was then outfitted with an array of speakers, resonators and a NOAA weather radio receiver, allowing it to function as an instrument. In the week prior to the opening at the IMA, I played the tower each day, slowly moving two electric guitar pickups across the steel latticework, which initiated a series of physical and acoustic feedback loops revealing the internal resonances within the structure. In the final installation, the tower becomes a totemic presence as it emits a range of sounds from a quiet hum (the sound of the tower itself physically vibrating), to a booming organ-like crescendo, punctuated periodically by a disembodied voice of the live NOAA weather radio reporting air temperatures, wind speeds and cloud coverage.



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