Short Rail
2011, 2024

Dog Barking
Video and Sound by Dan Senn

duration 4:00

Short Rail, Dog Barking was filmed in 2011 but fully realised as such in 2024 as a 4K work. The title is descriptive: a single almost 4 minute recording of a freight train passing a point in Watertown, Wisconsin, a dog barking in the background, recorded by a Sony HXR-NX5U camcorder, a Audio-Technica BP4025 mounted on top. In 2012, the work was premiered at Echofluxx 12 in Prague but then put aside until May of 2024 where the soundtrack was slightly reprocessed and the freight train mirrored across a 4K field to create flashing patterns of graffiti, cargo and freight car patterns against a stereophonic sound field. The work invokes a myriad of unintended meanings, depending on one’s background. Watertown, the city I was raised in, where rail sounds were often heard forte just five flat blocks away.

Where Alsatians abounded amidst a fear of tornadoes and atomic threats from Khrushchev. The partial building mirrored in the centre of the image, known in the 1950s as the Old Elm Mill, was once torched by an angry young man confused with me. These days, a majority are “MAGAfied” with many owning large angry dogs. Here, in 2011, I was only filming what was beautiful and sonically interesting—these other memories and connections coming years later. Meaning unintended is thus powerfully and diversely distributed. DS050824

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Dan Senn (Prague-Watertown) is an intermedia artist working in music composition and production, kinetic sound sculpture, experimental and documentary film. He has been a professor of music and art in the United States and Australia and travels internationally as a lecturer, performer and installation artist. He lives in Prague where he directs the Echofluxx festivals, and Watertown, Wisconsin, the USA. Dan's work moves freely between expressive extremes and languages depending upon the aesthetic joust at hand. Dan is cofounder of Roulette Intermedium in New York City, Cascadia Composers of Portland Oregon, and the Echofluxx media festivals in Prague. (read more).

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