Great Refractor, Yerkes Observatory. © Coppice
Peer-reviewed audio paper

Stewardship to obsolescence and preservation

Listening to specimen music through Yerkes Observatory’s refractor and reflector telescopes
6. april 2021
Fokus: Sounds of Science

Founded in 1892 and known as the birthplace of modern astrophysics, the Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wisconsin ceased operations in 2018. That year, its mechanical technologies were captured by Coppice (Noé Cuéllar and Joseph Kramer) to draw parallels between its acoustic signatures and functions, and those of Coppice’s glossary of study since 2009.

Musing on the lack of delimiting frames (Chion, 2016) and vanishing point (Carpenter and McLuhan, 1972) in the auditory, Coppice manufactures a frame out of Yerkes’ architectures and acoustics. Within that frame, Coppice’s creative processes are anecdoted, while pointing to coordinates where conjunctions of its music may be found. In highlighting the intermediary influence of recording and reproduction technologies on perception and perspective – both in limiting and enhancing ways – open-ended questions of actuality and fiction are posed.

In this self-reflexive documentary experiment of music and phonography, obsolescence and preservation are creative resources that span from instruments and devices to shapeshifting spaces. Addressed directly, the listener observes sonic identities in flux, and finds footing through retrospection, projection, and imagination.

Coppice’s sonic artifacts, in alignment with Yerkes’ telescopes, intersect multiple domains of time, space, and scale. How is experimental music conceived over time and what is seen through it?

Script for the audio paper: Read on Issuu

Narrated by Mark Booth and Jenny Vallier. For more information visit Coppice’s website.


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Chion, M. & Steintrager, J. (2016) Sound: An Acoulogical Treatise. Durham: Duke University Press.

Chion, M. & Murch, W. (1994) Audio-vision: Sound on Screen. New York: Columbia University Press.

Durham Peters, J. (2016) Obsolescence in the Digital EraCosmologics Magazine. [online] Available from: [Accessed 22 June 2020].

Fisher, M. (2014) Ghosts of My Lfe: Writings on Depression, Hauntology and Lost Futures. Winchester: Zero Books.

Flusser, V. (1990) Television Image and Political Space in the Light of the Romanian Revolution. Lecture recording. The media are with us!: the role of television in the Romanian Revolution. Mücsarnok, Budapest. Delivered 7 April 1990.

Francis, M. (2018) Yerkes Observatory is closing its doors. Astronomy [online]. Available from: [Accessed 22 June 2020].

Knakkergaard, M. (2014) The music that’s not there. In M. Grimshaw (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Virtuality. New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 392-404.

Kramer, J. (2011) Artist statement.

Morton, T. (2016) Appearance is War. In J. Brouwer (ed.) et al. The War of Appearances: Transparency, Opacity, Radiance. Rotterdam: V2_Publishing, pp. 166-182.

Parikka, J. (2016) The Lab Imaginary: Speculative Practices in situ. In R. Bishop (ed.) et al. (2017) Across and beyond - a transmediale reader on post-digital practices, concepts, and institutions, pp. 78-91.

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Schulze, H. (2016) Idiosyncrasy as a Method. 30 August, Seismograf, 16 [online]. Available from: [Accessed 16 July 2020].

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Zielinski, S. (2009) Deep Time of the Media. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Sampled Recordings (by year)

Cuéllar, N. & Kramer, J. (2013) Droopy. Coppice. [Installation]. Chicago: Fern Room, Lincoln Park Conservatory.

Cuéllar, N. & Kramer, J. (2013) Sop. Coppice. Big wad excisions. [CD]. Louisville: Quakebasket Records.

Cuéllar, N. & Kramer, J. (2014) Coincidence departure: quadrangle congruent with “III. Phases” / opening of first “II. Pivot”. Coppice. Vinculum (coincidence): indexed conjectures of coincidence imprints once happened. [CD]. Athens: Agxivatein.

Cuéllar, N. & Kramer, J. (2015) Discharge form. Coppice. Matches. [CD]. Chicago: Category of manifestation.

Cuéllar, N. & Kramer, J. (2015) Subparallel episode. Coppice. Matches. [CD]. Chicago: Category of manifestation.

Cuéllar, N. & Kramer, J. (2017) Inscription. Coppice. Open on occluded conditions. [Digital file]. Moscow: Untitled folder.

Cuéllar, N. & Kramer, J. (2017) Intercalary. Coppice. Open on occluded conditions. [Digital file]. Moscow: Untitled folder.

Cuéllar, N. & Kramer, J. (2018) Solvent/emulsion. Coppice. Surreal air fortress. [LP]. Antwerp: Entr’acte.

Cuéllar, N. & Kramer, J. (2018) Surveillance. Coppice. Surreal air fortress. [LP]. Antwerp: Entr’acte.

Cuéllar, N., & Kramer, J. (2020) Fake Air Storage. Coppice. [Digital file]. Gol: Noemata.


experimental music
mise en abyme