m u d r o o m

screenshot of mudroom digital sound installation

m u d r o o m is an experimental ambient audio installation, transformed into a one-hour virtual livestream featuring a looped audio of 10:30 minutes duration, streamed on 23 April 2020. Anyone can tune in from their respective spaces of isolation.

m u d r o o m is inspired Steve Goodman’s text Sonic Warfare in relation to J.A. Baker’s text The Peregrine. Baker writes, on the banks of the estuary ‘man walks in water or mud; there is no dry land. Mud is another element. One comes to love it, to be like a wading bird, happy only at the edges of the world where land and water meet, where there is no shade and nowhere for fear to hide.’ [1] This concept of a space of fear is supported by Goodman’s writing on the influence of sonic and subsonic vibration and frequency on space and bodies, especially spaces of culture and congregation like sound or clubbing venues. In his writing on ‘the throbbing crowd’ Goodman references Elias Canetti’s work on ‘Crowds and Power’: ‘the affect of fear, particularly of being touched by the unknown, forms a basic logic of population physics.’ [2] This sublime quality of fear is the inspiration for and intention of m u d r o o m . There is a tension between fear linked to silence, confusion and isolation, and fear linked to sound, bonding in community and evolution. Fear can be made manifest as exhilaration or a heightened sense of presence and clarity. Baker writes, ‘Learn to fear. To share fear is the greatest bond of all.’ [3]

m u d r o o m questions how we flock together, in the paradox of escape through gathering. This ‘escape room’, while a social game concept, is also central to the purpose of a club room. ‘The club can be as much of a trap or a broken promise as it can be an escape from reality. Or it can be all those things at once.’ [4]

m u d r o o m is about the muddiness between spaces virtual and physical; between spaces under and above ground. It is about being stuck in the mud, trying to push through and figure out; the universal feeling of difficulty of articulation, the fear of being lost, unheard, silenced or trampled. It is about discomfort and the fear of being obliterated but also the sublimity of such obliteration. In the virtual m u d r o o m we wade like birds in the mud, at once together and blaringly apart, in a space of unknown.

m u d r o o m was initially intended as a temporary occupation of the Return Gallery at the Goethe-Institut Irland, as part of a collaborative project A HURRY THROUGH WHICH KNOWN AND STRANGE THINGS PASS,5 a season of propositions, performances, experiments and scenarios by the MFA Art in the Contemporary World of NCAD. Due to the current circumstances of contagion, m u d r o o m has been moved online, made virtual.


Kate Friedeberg
23 April 2020

[1] J.A. Baker, The Peregrine (London: Harper Collins, 2015), pp. 94-95.
[2] Steve Goodman, Sonic Warfare: Sound, Affect, and the Ecology of Fear (Massachusetts: MIT, 2010), p. 110.
[3] Baker, p. 30.
[4] Andrew Ryce, ‘Jasmine Infiniti – BXTCH SLÄP’, Resident Advisor (16 April 2020)
[accessed 16 April 2020].
[5] Seamus Heaney, ‘Postscript’, 1998.

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