Stephen Cornford – Binatone Galaxy

 Stephen Cornford

CD – Senufo
In the abstract and iterated forms of an installation that arranged different models of used tape recorders in a purposeful pattern on a white wall, Stephen Cornford created a system of playing devices whose original function was subverted. Replacing the contents of a cassette with a microphone, the artist has given us the opportunity to listen in real-time to the sound of mechanical parts and the interaction of plastic objects, bringing the device back into the spotlight and focussing on an aura that was originally just a consequence of the way the technology operated. The estranging effect is strong, with a sort of melancholy and an intrinsic “strain” in the action – can you remember how wavering that technology was? Do you remember how we used to use a pencil to rewind the overflowed tape? Here are memories of an era when the portability of music playing devices became a collective need. Toying with these devices is the result of vintage memories and it is of no importance that the “formal” result is rather monotonous. We perceive the sensitivity of the microphones, the smallest cracks in the sound continuum, the going out of sync of the respective tones and the intensity of the clicks. A pulsating insistence – with the force of obsolete tools brought back to new life – that pushes, between tempos and continuous volume variation: pure poetry in conceptual form, and touching, too.