Yann Seznec is a musician, sound designer, and artist living in Edinburgh. Yann studied at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh and the University of Edinburgh, receiving an MSc in Sound Design in 2007. His work focuses on interaction, physical sound, and unusual approaches to musical software and hardware.
He has recently created an album entirely out of sounds recorded in a village in the Scottish highlands, and in June 2015 was awarded a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship to produce work at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.
Currents expands Seznec’s interest in technology as a tool, to consider how it shapes our environment. Computer fans are now a ubiquitous technology, used to cool down machinery when we produce, consume or analyse information. Frequently discarded, the fans point to our obsession with change, as well as the realities of a global economy that make it cheaper to produce anew rather than repair.
Seznec’s installation is a physical and sonic experience, connecting discarded computer fans to real-time weather data from around the world to move air around the visitor. . If Seznec’s earlier works have made visible hidden natural processes that surround us, Currents allows us to experience large scale global movements (economic and meteorological) in microcosm.
Seznec has chosen the locations from which to gather his live weather data not only forthe range of wind effects they are likely to produce, but also for the contexts they will evoke. Newfoundland in Canada, the site of one of Seznec’s chosen weather stations, is reportedly one of the windiest cities in the world. Thailand is perhaps more likely to produce a gentle zephyr at this time of year; but it is also the place which produces the vast majority of the 20 million computer fans made each month.
At times, Currents makes for uncomfortable listening, generating a range of sounds, natural and man-made, which more often elicit anger or irritation, or which we more readily associate with acts of destruction: angry bees, motor bikes revving, chain saws at work. There are other gentler noises also, strange fumblings and tickings, gentle tapping sounds which speak to a hidden presence behind the scenes.
Working with the basic substances on which all sound depends-air and vibration – Currents builds a rich portrait of the global society which we now inhabit, in which the constant movement of computer fans not only quite literally drives the international network of 24hour communication on which we all depend, but also speaks of the economic and social model of constant consumption and disposal which has evolved in its wake.
Currents was commissioned by the Edinburgh Art Festival and received its UK premiere performance at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London on 5th July 2014.
Click Here to watch Yann Seznec discuss Currents.