Ball and Horns 2011-ongoing
aka Desert Resonator and Range Trumpet
Steve Badgett and Deborah Stratman
Desert Research Station, Hinkley, CA

Ball and Horns are a pair of site-specific acoustic sculptures, situated beneath the R-2508 Range Complex, a joint-use military airspace corridor in the Mojave Desert. The project is a continuation of the artists’ research into the history of sonic and militarized space.

Desert Resonator is a spherical, six-string Aeolian harp, constructed out of salvaged jet plane parts. The ball, like all Aeolian instruments, is designed to resonate via the wind. Its six 75’ long strings pass over dual bridges on the sphere, and produce multi-harmonic drones contingent upon the force and consistency of the air currents. The piece, in effect, translates the wind.
Range Trumpet is a conjoined pair of pivoting, binaural listening horns. Modeled after pre-radar acoustic surveillance technologies, typically used to monitor the sound of incoming enemy aircraft, Range Trumpet acoustically amplifies land and air-borne sonic events. The listener may sit or stand, don the headphones, and aim the horns to focus on any desired source. As with Desert Resonator, the horns are constructed largely from salvaged jet plane parts.

There is geometry in the humming of the strings,
there is music in the spacing of the spheres
- Pythagoras of Samos

In Sphere 2

Desert Resonator

Resonator 2

Z Drone 1

Z Drone 2