Pressing My Ear Against The Fourth Wall and more art by Ryan Page

Pressing My Ear Against The Fourth Wall, 2022
w = 85 cm
Patch Creation

In Pressing My Ear Against the Fourth Wall (2022) a single loop—a short audio recording from a primitive sampler known as a Mellotron—is processed through a number of concatenated series of media. Due to its use of analog tape as a storage and playback medium, the sounds of the Mellotron are often considered uncanny or ghostly.

This uncanniness carries over to the present work, which does not rely upon on of the many Mellotron simulations, but a recording of Fabio Frizzi’s Voci dal Nulla (1981). The artist and the listener are thus left with gaps in our knowledge of the process of mediation. We lack, not only the process by which the original tapes were recorded, but the compression algorithm of the video sharing site I sampled it from. It is therefore difficult to determine why certain artifacts emerged as I recorded and processed this sample. For example, despite recording at levels consistent with the headroom available with the equipment I was using, it was impossible to eliminate distortion on the recording.

In this process, I became interested in what information is foregrounded, especially when the aesthetics and form of the work are heavily reliant on mediation. As imperfections are compounded and each medium moves from the frame of representation to that which is represented, where does the surface noise lie? Despite constant reminders of the artifice, I found it impossible to unhear the distance effects of the artificial reverberation—despite the fact that it is intentionally disrupted throughout the work.


Ryan Page is an electronic music composer. He holds a Ph.D. in digital media (UCSC), an MFA in Electronic Music (Mills College) and a BA in New Media (University of Maine). Their work focuses on the limitations and biases of communications media and their relation to human perception. In 2017 they created Repairer of Reputations, a project exploring deprecated communications technologies and electronic music, which has produced film scores, video-game soundtracks, short films, and a modular synthesizer. In 2019 he founded the synthesis company Magus Instrumentalis. He is a currently Assistant Professor of Sound Design at Berklee College of Music.

exhibited by:

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