Transformation & Migration - Sound Complement

It is my privilege to participate in this exhibition, sharing gallery space with artists Cecile Miller and Lynn Salo. My goal is to transcend the physical space of the gallery, harnessing the power of electronic media to not only reflect their work, but create an immersive environment or event for you, the viewer. You will see 'QR' codes attached to the labels of a number of artist works. Use the camera on your phone to access and listen to the online audio compositions. I hope you enjoy them! Rich Miller.

Poetry to Ebola (2:48)

This piece references all that is encompassed by perpetual movement (migration), exploring all facets of that which we consider a part of our world. The Ebola virus, rare but deadly, is deeply 'incorporated' into Lynn Salo's painting, "Poetry to Ebola". Contrast lies between those beautiful migrations, and the devastating. Whales, butterflies, puppy paws. Culture, poetry, our world. All is in perpetual migration from Covid, to Ebola, to tectonic plates, to bees. Even though we might not think it, nothing in our world is sedentary.

Kingfisher (3:50)

A kingfisher is said to be the first bird to fly from Noah's ark after the flood. Over the course of that journey, it supposedly received the orange of the setting sun on its breast and the blue of the sky on its back. It is known as the halcyon bird in Greek mythology, a long-time symbol of peace, promising prosperity and love. The bird and the objects in Lynn's painting represent those unseen forces that may induce migration and the transformations that occur during one's migratory journey. (Flight birds respond to unseen forces, stars, sun, and the gravitational pull of the earth. Objects in the foreground undergo a transformation in time and space, not uncommon to any object or animal that migrates.)

Freedom (2:34)

"Freedom rings every time a once -caged bird soars above the lines of limits, charting its own course to consciousness, awaking to dreams fulfilled." ~ Mel Chante, inspired by Caged Bird by Maya Angelou. Is a cage very different from a 'home'? In a home we find a place of safety, to rest, to return, or adapt to a new life. This piece represents a bird once encaged – a decision is made to depart or change from a situation that keeps us captive in some way – whether physically or psychologically (Birds in C. Miller's work usually represent a free spirit). In this audio selection, listen for the fluttering of our caged bird and its joyous songs of release.

Spheres - MigBlue (3:23)

Launched March 2, 1972, the Pioneer 10 spacecraft completed the first mission to planet Jupiter. Thereafter, Pioneer 10 became the first of five artificial objects to achieve escape velocity allowing it to leave our Solar System. Attached to the spacecraft was a gold-anodized aluminum plaque and a recording featuring images and audio. Hundreds of sounds from earth were included, as were greetings in 55 languages.

This audio piece is inspired by painter Lynn Salo's, "Spheres". The musical composition is made up of Public Domain audio from NASA. The sounds of the cosmos, and Jupiter, form the ambient background sound. The listener hears Sputnik, the first man-made satellite. We hear astronauts of various NASA space missions. And, of course, there are the actual recorded greetings and familiar sounds from Earth sent along with the Pioneer missions.

Hope Crossing (3:52)

This piece accompanys the installation "Hope Crossing" by C. Miller. The installation features translucent acetate boats, placed over lights and lit from beneath. The soundscape and music mirror the symbolism of boats, journey, adventure, crossing of seas, and flow of experience or passage of time. Boats are symbols of voyage or crossing of seas while rivers show a course of direction in life, a force of nature that can connect or divide, and flow of experience or passage of time. Graphics on the boats reference the struggles and tragedies of refugees as they embark on journeys of uncertainly. The tiny lights are a spark of hope for survival. Will their migration to a new land be welcomed?

The Journey (3:16)

Suitcases bring to mind journey, travel and escape to another place. Butterflies have long symbolized hope, life, rebirth, change or transformation… a metamorphosis of not only shedding the old, but movement from where we are today to the next phase of being. Our ancestors moved to Canada from Europe with dreams for a better and safe future. The bottom suitcase is actually from post WWII migration of Rich's mother, and the crocheted tablecloth, from where butterflies emerge, is from Cecile's mother and her heritage.

LatinVibe - Forced Migration (4:07)

Cecile, Lynn and I have been working on the "Transformation & Migration" show for more than two years. This audio selection, "LatinVibe" references a painting by Lynn that does not appear in the show, a reference to child exploitation and human trafficking. A young girl is juxtaposed next to an elephant. The girl worked in a circus. The piece is called forced migration due to the fact that she is tethered at ankle. It references all those children who have been touched by human trafficking. Due to economics, impoverished nations do not have the ability to monitor all situations. Society and the state often do not have resources to protect children from exploitation; their social backgrounds make them vulnerable. Children experience great emotional pain during the family separation process and disappointment when they realize that their "new" family does not treat them as children but instead as almost slaves.

Exitium - Exiting Chaos (2:45)

(Exitium - Latin meaning exit, destruction, going out, ruin, doom, demolition) - Animal migration is a natural function of a healthy ecosystem. However, in virtually every corner of the globe, animals face a growing array of threats including habitat destruction, overexploitation, disease, and global climate change. Some animals adapt to changes in environment; others migrate to survive. This painting by Lynn Salo, "Exiting Chaos" reflects the ever-increasing challenges species face in adapting to environmental change. The iconic silhouette of the elephant and swirl of other creatures struggles to outpace a hostile environment. Instinctual forces are at play. Might the demise of human kind be far behind?

Hope Floats (3:44)

Dandelion puffs symbolize a letting go of the past, resilience and rebirth. As kids we would close our eyes and make a wish before blowing a dandelion puff. The seed is attached to fuzz that acts like a parachute to carry the seed great distances on a breeze. Dandelions are found in temperate regions all over the world. They are an example of how nature adapts itself to migrate, to re-establish itself in new locations for survival.

Starling Waves (2:31)

A linear line, a swirling motion. Birds, elephants, bees. Swarming is a honey bee colony's natural means of reproduction. When starlings flock together, wheeling and darting through the sky in tight, fluid formations, we call it a murmuration. These murmurations range from small groups of a few hundred starlings in a small ball to millions of birds that block out the sun. Biologists think that starlings do it for a number of reasons. Grouping offers safety in numbers – predators such as peregrine falcons find it difficult to target one bird in the middle of a hypnotising flock of thousands. Birds also gather to keep warm at night and, exchange information - such as good feeding areas -and protect migrating bird nests.

La Bahia - Tectonic Waltz (4:33)

The painting "Tectonic Waltz" was inspired by views from an aircraft, far aloft. The sensuous beauty of the landmass contrasts the darkness of water. These land mass shapes were formed by the division of Pangea, the super continent that once contained almost the whole landmass of the planet before our seven continents came to be. The name Pangaea comes from the Ancient Greek words "pan," meaning entire, and "Gaia," meaning Earth. Even something seemingly as geologically permanent as land is, in reality, still in motion. Earth's outer shell is broken into several plates that slide over Earth's rocky shell, the mantle. This movement has greatly influenced native species of animal and plant life throughout millennia. As an example, it is hypothesized that dinosaurs moved across the supercontinent Pangea between 230 million and 66 million years ago, migrating from Europe to other parts of the world.

From Above - Amino Acids (3:09)

Amino acids, organic compounds forming the basis of proteins, are an essential element of all life on earth. In 2014, the Rosetta space probe became the first spacecraft to orbit a comet. A small lander vehicle detected the presence of glycine on the comet, unexpected as the glycine molecule is an amino acid. This discovery leads some scientists to hypothesize that amino acids may have originated in space and reached earth via comets and meteorites (yes, comets and meteors migrate too!). How amazing, looking from far, far above, realizing in all ways that all life is related. We are all part of the same. If only humankind could realize the fragility of our earth, and be grateful to live on our sublime and glorious blue planet.

Link to Audio Playlist

Click this Link for Audio Playlist


All music composed, arranged and recorded by R. Miller. Field Recordings from Freesound.

Title: "wind light desert day steady eerie with crickets"
Author: Kyles
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons 0 License.

Title: "Monotron Whalesong"
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License.

Title: "Woodland_Kingfisher"
Author: soundbytez
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License.

Title: "Birds singing at stream"
Author: enhuber
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License.

Title: "Harp Glissando Up"
Author: olver
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons 0 License.

Title: "NASA Sounds"
Author: NASA
These works have been identified as being free of known restrictions under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights.

Music composed by R. Miller © 2020