"Materials Recovery Facility"
Stereo audio; duration variable.
12.06. - 26.07.2015
This album was recorded at the materials recovery facility (MRF) run by Casella Waste Systems, in the Charlestown area of northern Boston. The facility receives truckloads of commingled recyclables from many surrounding municipalities and universities. Fed through the facility on a network of massive overlapping conveyor belts, the materials are separated for recycling using automated methods including trommels, disc screens, optical sensors, precisely directed blasts of compressed air, eddy currents, magnets, and a large staff of human workers, who manage much of the separation by hand.
This piece formed the basis for a collaboration with Pawel Wojtasik and Toby Kim Lee that resulted first in an installation at the Museum of the Moving Image in NY, and then an audiovisual work for cinema with 5.1 surround sound, Single Stream, which was exhibited at the Whitney Museum in NY and had its international premiere at the Locarno Film Festival.
Originally published online in Sensate: A Journal for Experiments in Critical Media Practice, Summer 2012
Ernst Karel makes experimental nonfiction sound works for multichannel installation and performance. His recent projects are edited/composed using unprocessed location recordings; in performance he sometimes combines location recordings with analog electronics to create pieces which move between the abstract and the documentary. His sound works Heard Laboratories, Swiss Mountain Transport Systems, and Materials Recovery Facility have been exhibited in New York at the Whitney Museum, Diapason Gallery, and Film Society at Lincoln Center, and at KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin, Audiorama in Stockholm, the Viennale Film Festival, at Tuned City Tallinn, and elsewhere. Recent nonfiction vilms on which he has done sound work include Detour de Force, The Iron Ministry, Manakamana, and Leviathan. He currently manages the Sensory Ethnography Lab and the Film Study Center at Harvard University, where as Lecturer on Anthropology, he teaches a class in Sonic Ethnography.