Image Name

The Only Thing We Have to Fear

a sound installation
Ted Apel
motion lamp, radio, light, sound.

In 1933 President Franklin D. Roosevelt began to broadcast a series of radio addresses on policy directly to the American people. These addresses became known as "fireside chats" and continued throughout the three terms of his presidency. In this installation, a radio plays a mixture of sounds from a forest fire and a fireside chat that has been altered to accentuate only the noisy parts of the speech. Here the message is obscured and reinterpreted in layers of noise.

During the 1930s, motion lamps were commonly displayed on top or near home radios as a visual accompaniment while listening to the radio. Motion lamps use the heat generated by a light bulb to turn a patterned cylinder of paper. The image appears to move due to the changing light from the moving cylinder. In this piece, the image is an animated forest fire produced by the "Scene-In-Motion Corporation" in 1931.