The Dead Record Office by AUDiNT is a 2011 Art in General commission. AUDiNT, short for “Audio Intelligence” is a collaborative, research team comprised of artists and scholars Steve Goodman, Toby Heys and myself, Jon Cohrs.
Since 1945, AUDiNT has been conducting research, rituals, and experiments into the opening of the 3rd ear, a dimension that materializes when sound, ultrasound, and infrasound are simultaneously deployed in a precise schema of sequencing, duration, and amplification. The 3rd ear forms a conduit for the channelling of voices and frequencies, allowing communication between the living and the dead, sanity and insanity and between disparate locations in space and time.
Adapting to, and capitalizing on the viral dynamics and tactical battlefields of 21st century digital networks, we are systematically uploading the AUDiNT research archive that has been compiled throughout the past 60 years. Our research concerns the hauntological power of sonic weaponry). This ritualized uploading of the spectral archive aims to create a prospective archive of wave-formed affect that is propagated throughout the living dead networks of our communication systems. This tactical shift – to open up our archive to the public – relates to our new mandate of arming the mass populace with the efficacy of sonic weaponry so that it does not become the sole preserve of the military-entertainment complex. With its dark science and sonically dissonant content, Dead Record Office is the enshrined location from which this viral transfer begins.
In 2011, AUDiNT produced the Ghostcoder software which allowed it to begin, in encrypted fashion, to upload its research archive through the trojan horse of bit torrented popular music files from the last 70 years, providing a digital parallel to the Dead Record Network set up by the original members of AUDiNT.
The GhostCoder software is a utility to embed sound files or spoken text files within flac files so the information can piggyback on top of torrents without being noticed. Later the torrent stream can be decoded to yield the embedded information. The GhostCoder produces public secrets – it is intended to use viral dynamics as an archiving tool to ensure important data stays within the public domain.
The Ghostcoder software has two functions for AUDiNT:
1) It allows us to upload our spectral archive of research relating to sonic warfare
2) It functions as an alternative messaging system, which has allowed under cover operatives to contact us in encrypted fashion.
The uploading occurs in a fabricated shack entitled the Dead Record Office. In actuality, the DRO is half office, half shrine, functioning as both a repository for AUDiNT’s research archive, but also a sacred space, testament to the distributed efforts of AUDiNT members, over the last 7 decades, to re-purpose military research relating to acoustic weaponry, in order to improve previously occulted attempts to open up the 3rd Ear.
During the ongoing process of uploading, AUDiNT have been contacted through the Ghostcoder software channel by a correspondent going under the name the Walter Mancer. The messages from Walter Mancer (stored in a Dossier, the WMD) were comprised of computer-generated voices encrypted using the Ghostcoder and embedded into sound effects records. The content of the messages contain secret information regarding the US military’s experimentation with infrasound and directional ultrasound speakers in Iraq, a project entitled Phantom Hailer. The Phantom Hailer campaign, according to the WMD, involved the attempt to manipulate crowd behaviour in Iraqi cities by projecting voices from the HyperSonic sound and LRAD type systems at bodies in a way that makes it difficult to discern whether the voice is coming from that persons own consciousness, or projected from the outside. With Phantom Hailer, the brain itself has become the battleground.
In phase 1 of AUDiNT’s research, the Ghost Army campaign attempted to simulate the sound of the enemy. In phase 2, Wandering Soul attempted to simulate the sound of dead allies communicating from beyond the grave. In phase 3, Phantom Hailer entails the attempt to simulate the self, or even question that the voices in our heads are actually possessed by the subject in the first place.
This New York test site features a new upgraded version of the Unsound System, a bespoke Infrasound speaker system, and 3 directional ultrasound speakers. Dead Record Office also consists of, for the 1st time in the US, access to some of AUDiNT’s research archive, and an upload portal that doubles as a sacred space dedicated to the opening of the 3rd ear.