Listen To This Barbed Wire “Concertina” Sound Installation

June 24, 2014 | Sophie Weiner

Steve Bates metaphorically symbolic Concertina melds conceptual art into a functioning instrument. The piece uses a coil of barbed wire, electronic charges and radio transmitters, along with actual concertina samples, to create a droning, strangely beautiful music. Neural Magazine recently profiled the project, writing about Bates’ inspiration:

In the jungles of Central America legend tells that rebel groups have discovered a tactic for evading localization by the army when communicating by radio. Taking advantage of the barbed wire laid out for miles over the landscape by the military to hinder their mobility, the rebels allegedly hook up radio transmitters to the wire and reclaim it as an antenna. This spreads the transmission source over a large territory, allowing the rebels to evade conventional localization techniques.

The wire itself is called “concertina,” named for its ability to be quickly spread out or collapsed. Bates work uses this politically charged material as a literal medium of communication, and with it creates a jarring peacefulness where there should be conflict. Listen to it here: