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Around turntable: definition – history – production

turntable project

 

I have search around the history of turntable, and information on the one in the museum Linn Sondek LP12; looking for inspiration, the goal being to find objects or actions, related to the turntable itself  I could transform into data, then to sound and playable on the turntable.

I search for hours, what kind of stories I could create from the objects in the Changing Nation Gallery in the National Museum of Scotland, without any conclusive results. After few hopeless days, I decided to sit down and try to be methodical. This is my technic: when I am a lost, and the head is not working anymore to find ideas by itself, I start with looking at the definition. I looked into the dictionary and found actually 2 definitions : 1. a circular revolving plate supporting a record as it is played. 2. a circular revolving platform for turning a railway locomotive or other vehicle. I really liked this discovery. Then I also made the connection between the wheels of the old trains and the harm of the turntable on the vinyl.

Then I looked at the history of the product. And the first Phonograph (old version of the turntable we know nowadays) has been invented by Thomas Edison, well known for his inventions contributed to mass communication and, in particular, telecommunications. He invented electric light and power utilities, sound recording, and motion pictures all established major new industries world- wide. It links the turntable not only to the communication and Home section of the gallery, but also to energy part.

I carried on investigating the turntable which is displayed in the gallery: Linn Sondek LP12. I directly noticed after few clics that it is a very well know brand world wide for vinyl lover, moreover…. it is a Scottish brand and they are based in Glasgow. I found articles from someone who actually visited the factory : on whathifi and dagogo. I think if we wanted we might be able to visit it as well.

Finally I started  to look at some books, about music, turntable, evolution of the music industry…

From the book : UNDER-CURRENTS the hidden wiring of modern music edited by Wire and continuum. I already found so far some interesting quote:
p16: In the 18th and 19th centuries, electricity also catalysed the kind of heady enthusiasm that data devices do today.
p18: electricity is an experience before it is a fact, a dream before it is a science. In Watson’s case, electrical theories were mixed up with spiritualist notions.
p19: Thomas Edison discovered that changing an electric current in a stylus changed the amount of friction the stylus exerted on a rotating cylinder – which could therefore become a medium of sonic inscription.
P19: Freud dubbed the dread produced by the doppellganger “the uncanny”, which he connected to the queer feelings one gets from dolls and automata. It seems important to note that when Edison was imagining possible applications for his new device, one of his first notions, alongside producing platters of music, was to make dolls “speak, sing, cry and make various sounds”.
p22: Marshall McLuhan argued that electronic technologies were installing an “acoustic space” in the place of an earlier “visual space” […] he believes that electronic media eroded this crisp and objective grid of facts, dissolving it into a psychic, social and perceptual environment that resembles the kind of space we hear: multi-dimentional, resonant, invisible tactile, “a total and simultaneous field of relations”. Though McLuhan used “acoustic space” as an analogy for a psycho-social process that did not necessarily tickle the bones of the inner ear, his oceanic vision of acoustics does foreground the central role that music – and its electromagnification.
p 27: The song becomes a viral dissemination: technologies, broadcast, relayed, replayed, addressed to everyone and no one […] the song soon becomes a technological paradigm: something which can be turned up, levelled out.

From these research, following my initial idea The world as Turntable, I developed 2 new concepts you can discover in this new article: New proposals: production-vs-edison.