Radius Grid Series
Jefferson Substation, Chicago, IL

The piece was was commissioned by Radius as part of the Grids Series, a collection of site-specific works asking different artists to respond to the electrical grid.

Hum responds specifically to the Jefferson Substation, an electrical substation that is located just outside the loop of downtown Chicago. The step down transformers at the Substation emit an audible 60 cycle hum. This rich harmonic drone permeates the surrounding city blocks. For this site-specific radio broadcast and performance, Rose assembled a small choir of vocalists who were positioned at a near distance to the transformers. The choir hummed the overtone series in harmony with the transformer’s buzz.

The choir’s hum was broadcast and radios were provided to an ambulatory audience. Visitors were invited to explore the site on their own time with radios in hand, freely moving between the embodied presence of the performers and the electrical transformers. Encountering cycles of energy, perception, and transmission, the audience carried the sound of the humming choir to its pulsating electric source.

Photos and Video by Stephanie Acosta.