Memory Study
for Surrounded Space

Source material for Memory Study for Surround Space (2017) [ 4:16 ]
this recording represents the source noise melody created from historical vintage news clips, footage, home movies, and other audio media content available from the Wolfson Media Archives that played through the installation. It is not a recording documenting the exhibition as the sound poetry moved about the space. © 2017, Gustavo Matamoros. Subtropics Editions. All rights reserved at

About The Piece

“my memory of what happened is not what happened.” — John Cage

our minds are creative, dynamic and selective. and over time, what actually happens to us isn’t quiet as we remember it. in school, one way i was taught to memorize something was by turning it into song

for this memory lab commission i proposed combining these two ideas, the unreliability of memory and the song as a tool for remembering to compose a project using what i call audibles. audibles are short segments of fragmented recorded sound that in this particular case come from speeches, news media clips, interviews and incidental sounds from home movies and other media sources contained in the Wolfson Archives. these audibles are selected not for their verbal content but like in poetry, for their inherent musicality. when strong together in random ways, one audible at a time as in a necklace, the resulting sound poetry is what i call a Noise Melody

not having a chance to make full sense of the language, i suggest the listener may give up and focus on recognizing the characteristic sound of a voice, or of the environment surrounding a recording, or the particular qualities of old broadcast microphones, or the blast of a space rocket, etc

by deemphasizing language our minds move away from meaning and begin to listen to other memorable elements of sound that reveal themselves in the cadences, as well as the timbral and the environmental domains. these are the memory objects i was interested in exploring during the making of the audio content for this piece

as important to me is the physical structure of the installation which incorporates special transducers that turn each of 15 square large tiles into a discrete audio source. this context permits me to organize ways for the noise melody to move in time and space through every corner of the architectural structure over a background soundscape of underwater shrimp, Everglades water streams, and the inside of a helicopter cabin. for the listener, the result is an unusual ever changing 15-point surround experience

special thanks to go to my colleague Freddy Jouwayed for his creative assistance with the architectural layout and to electrical engineer Claudio Rodriguez for designing and building to my specifications special audio hardware for this project

Thursday Mar 9, 2017 – Sunday Apr 16, 2017
Opening reception March 9, 2017
HistoryMiami, Downtown Miami


The artists in MemoryLab have been invited to delve into and activate the holdings of HistoryMiami Museum and the Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archives as a starting point, or a point of intervention, in the creation of new work. Using research and investigative methods, the MemoryLab projects were developed as ideas that look simultaneously backwards, forwards, and inwards at individual and collective memory

The exhibition features a multigenerational group of artists who all have ties to Miami and currently reside in Miami, New York, California, and Seattle. The work of Elia Khalaf, John William Bailly, and Julie Khan incorporates informational input from the public and will be enhanced and activated through social interaction during the course of the exhibition. Projects by Domingo Castillo and Adler Guerrier investigate the ways in which Miami was developed and projected outwards and into the world. The projects by Archival Feedback, Gustavo Matamoros, and Graham Lambkin use field recordings and excerpts from archival sources to generate sound installations. The work of Shahreyar Ataie, Kathleen Hudspeth, Clifton Childree, and Weston Charles draw from Florida’s past, while the projects by Willie Avendano, Jamilah Sabur, Juan Maristany, and the Alliance of the Southern Triangle look back from a perceived future

MemoryLab was organized by HistoryMiami Museum and the Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archives at Miami Dade College, and curated by Kevin Arrow and Barron Sherer of Obsolete Media Miami (O.M.M.)