The Trans-Harmonium: A Listening Station

The Trans-Harmonium is a deconstructed antique piano re-wired to play a collection of radios tuned to twelve frequencies, one frequency for each key chromatically. C is reserved for classical when possible, while A, B, D, E, F, G are tuned chronologically based on local stations. The sharps/flats are tuned in between stations, picking up static and overlapping dialog.

This machine was built to travel. By documenting this work in various locations, I hope to capture an archive of audible portraits of various cities. Once the work is well traveled/documented I plan to find an institution or organization that is willing to keep the project alive. Ideally the institution would continue to loan and document the work once it leaves my hands, expanding the archive.

The Trans-Harmonium is part of Collecting Fragments of Time, a series of recordings involving decommissioned objects transfigured into instruments that pull live radio frequencies from the air. These recordings are in the process of being compiled to create an archive of fragmented time.

Emily Francisco. Visitors playing Trans-Harmonium at the Kennedy Center
Visitors playing the Trans-Harmonium at the Kennedy Center
Visitors playing the Trans-Harmonium at the Kennedy Center
The Trans-Harmonium: A Listening Station installed at the Kennedy Center in 2015images above and left: Yassine El Mansouri
Emily Francisco. Wiring chart for the Trans-Harmonium
Emily Francisco, The Trans-Harmonium installed at Artisphere
image: courtesy of Artistphere
Trans-Harmonium Simplex, 2017