Beyond Streaming Installation + Process

eli and edythe broad art museum at michigan state university

The installation of Beyond Streaming that occupies the Alan and Rebecca Ross Education Wing of the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum is composed of thirty individual copper pipes that connect the ceiling to the floor, each running a different length. Each pipe has a spigot attached towards its lower portion. Both the pipes and the spigots are familiar materials that reference the water transport systems used by municipal entities and households alike. The installation is site-specific in the sense that it is designed to attach to and rest upon the architecture of the two bays of windows in the Education Wing—which are part of the building design as conceived by the late, master architect Zaha Hadid. In response to the architecture, the installation follows a specific logic that requires each length of pipe to turn at a right angle where it meets the building’s structure, thereby creating a second grid that is interwoven with the preexisting irregular grid. In total, the installation is composed of approximately 1,460 feet of copper piping and 530 copper fittings.

How the installation works: Within each pipe is a different digital audio track made by a pair of students—one from Carman-Ainsworth High School in Flint and one from Everett High School in Lansing. The audio tracks are composed of field recordings made by the students during the workshops facilitated by artist Jan Tichy, mixed with recordings of texts performed by the students in response to the Flint water crisis. To access the audio, visitors to the Education Wing are able to interact with the copper pipes by opening and closing the spigot valves. When the valve is closed, the installation remains silent. When the valve is opened, the audio recording within pours out. To further accentuate the recordings, the pipes grow in diameter as they descend from the ceiling to the floor, thus allowing the sound waves grow and amplify. In total, there are thirty different listening stations throughout the installation, composed of the students’ voices and recordings. One of the listening stations was created by the pair of their teachers—Jessyca Mathews and Pam Collins—who helped lead the workshops and facilitate the student interactions.