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Earth Sound Earth SignalEnergies and Earth Magnitude in the Arts$
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Douglas Kahn

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780520257801

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520257801.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 18 May 2022

Black Sun, Black Rain

Black Sun, Black Rain

(p.193) 15 Black Sun, Black Rain
Earth Sound Earth Signal

Douglas Kahn

University of California Press

In the myth, Icarus flies too close to the sun, the wax holding his wings together melts, and he falls into the sea and drowns. Two forms of reverse-Icarus with equally dire results are examined: the sun is brought down to earth in the form of nuclear armaments and through the effects of global warming. Apocalypse informs the work of Swedish composer Karl-Birger Blomdahl, including his experimental television work Altisonans, which uses the sounds of natural radio and satellite telemetry and ends in the searing pitch of solar noise. Brilliant Noise and Black Rain, two works by the British artists Semiconductor, confront the raw energy of the sun, while the genesis of the media archaeological art of Paul DeMarinis is found in the gamma radiation realities of the Cold War in the United States.

Keywords:   Karl-Birger Blomdahl, Paul DeMarinis, Semiconductor (artists), Icarus myth, solar astronomy, solar noise, sun and art, experimental television, media archaeology, space age culture, comets in art, satellites and art, radioactivity and art, Altisonans

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