Le trimestre dernier, je vous causais de l'amour d'Eric LA CASA pour les ascenseurs et leurs particularités sonores. Maintenant, on va se pencher sur la ventilation mécanique. Le déclic remonte à 1994 ; la rencontre avec une bouche d'extraction dans une salle de bains. «L'air devient bruit et musique». Depuis, tel un détective en quête de preuves, il file le parcours de l'air dans les architectures modernes.
Ce phénomène de vibration nous entoure, voire nous envahit. Alors pour reprendre John Cage parlant du bruit, soit on l'ignore et il nous agresse, soit on l'écoute, et il nous passionne. C'est cette passion que nous fait partager Eric LA CASA dans «Air.ratio», une collection de 30 navigations d'air à travers cette mécanique, enregistrées entre 2000 et 2003. Chacune a une durée égale de deux minutes et pour calibrer notre écoute, il nous en donne a entendre un extrait dans la première minute du CD (calibrage repris à la fin). Alors banque de sons ? Système de calibrage acoustique ? Ambiances ? Musique ? Certainement tout à la fois, avec la revendication du son fixé et de l'écoute domestique. La dernière plage est un moment de silence nous plongeant ainsi dans I'écoute individuelle de notre environnement, avec ou sans ventilation. Et nous rappelant, fait essentiel, que nous écoutions un disque avec le point d'écoute particulier d'un compositeur. Parce que même si la fonction peut ne pas être revendiquée par Eric LA CASA, c'est bien de çà qu'il s'agit.
« On peut se demander, puisqu'il n'y a musique qu'ä travers notre oreille et notre entendement, si la musique commence quand on la fait ou quand on l'entend ?" (Pierre Schaeffer au Festival de la Recherche le 26 mai 1960).
PS: j'aurais pu aussi parler de l'impression d'être dans la trompette d'Axel Dörner, de la sensation du chant éolien, et de la perception lointaine de la ville.
Jérôme NOETINGER, Revue & Corrigée 69

Assisted airflow in various Parisian buildings is the subject of Eric La Casa's AirRatio. His study of the sounds generated by ventilation systems began in 1994, when a dusty bathroom air vent became his muse. Air.Ratio's recordings come from various locations - the Maison Radio France, the François Mitterrand National Public Library, the Pompidou Contemporary Art Centre and the bathrooms of two domestic apartments among them.
La Casa mostly focuses his condenser mics on extraction air vents, though occasionally he records intake vents. At no time do the mics come into physical contact with them. La
Casa's intention was to record only the acoustic properties of air as it is mechanically moved through sectional pipes, not the sounds surrounding the location, though there are two recordings in which peripheral sounds marginally intrude Moreover, he wasn't trying to find sounds characteristic of the ventilation system as a whole; each location was chosen purely for its sonic richness. As that suggests, La Casa's decisions are aesthetically driven he makes no bones about the fact that he considers these noises to be music.
What's surprising is how reminiscent these recordings are of sculpted noise, electronic composition and certain kinds of electroacoustic improvisation. The gently fluctuating, harmonically rich roar of each of the conduits often contains within it beatings, erratic clatterings, a tremendous sense of presence and depth, and a distinctive pitch register. Each of the vent recordings is represented by a two minutes excerpt - 30 in all. juxtaposed seamlessly. For a prelude and postlude, two second snippets from all 30 are crammed into a one-minute track. Air-Ratio concludes with a minute of silence.
BRIAN MARLEY, The wire, July 2006


By now the name Eric La Casa should be more or less known, as the man with the microphone. All of his releases deal with sounds from our environment. Recently we discussed a 3"CD of his that had recordings made in elevators, and that was a more conceptual approach than we were used of his. He seems to be continuing this with his latest offering 'Air.ratio'. Here the sound of mechanical ventilation systems is the subject. All of the ventilation systems heard were recorded in Paris from November 2000 until September 2003. Obviously these systems make noise, but they are designed to be as little present as possible. The space it breaths in, is also of importance. La Casa leaves it up to the listener to enjoy this as a sonic data bank, specific sound study, a CD of environments or simply as music. There are thirty three tracks on this CD, one is silent, two are the other thirty, compressed to one minute and the rest are the pure recordings, made at Radio France, The Francois Mitterand Library, Centre Pompidou and the European Hospital Georges Pompidou. I rather take up La Casa's last point of enjoyment: to see this as music. Each of the two minute pieces is a true delight to hear: mechanical sounding, sometimes far away, sometimes interfering with some other device (although none were recorded on the surface), this is a totally fascinating journey, that brings the listener more awareness of every days sound - either to be regarded as music or as pollution, even when such listener is already aware of this pollution or music. I tend to opt for the last and listen to the given environment as music, and try to enjoy it as such. I even switched off my own home ventilator a while, when listening to this, and 'mixed' later on a little bit of this home machine with the CD of La Casa. Going into public places will never be the same again. Great sound work.
Frans De Waard, Vital Weekly 533

Eric La Casa crashes hunting for the grotesque WEB of a chemical anthropoid brain universe of the terror fear cytoplasm that jointed to the insanity medium of the hyperreal HIV scanners DNA channel of the corpse city. Air.ratio, reptilian=HUB to the genomics strategy circuit that was processed the body encoder of the ultra machinary tragedy-ROM creature system that was debugged the technojunkies' data mutant of Eric La Casa's abolition world-codemaniacs feeling replicant. Eric La Casa's abnormal living body of the drug fetus of the trash sense-DNA bomb mass of flesh-module that was controlled to the acidHUMANIX infectious disease archive of the biocapturism nerve cells nightmare-script of a clone boy murder game. Eric La Casa plug-in the terror fear cytoplasm murder-protocol of the biocapturism nerve cells reptilian HUB of a clone boy gene-dub of the drug fetus of the trash sense. Air.ratio, the paradise apparatus of the human body pill cruel emulator corpse feti streaming of the soul/gram made of retro-ADAM to the abolition world-codemaniacs that was processed the data mutant of Eric La Casa's ultra machinary tragedy-ROM creature system FUCKNAMLOAD. Eric La Casa's modem heart of the hybrid corpse mechanism that tera of dogs turned on technojunkies' ill-treatment to the mass of flesh-module of the hyperreal HIV scanner form that was debugged the DNA channel. Eric La Casa's guerrilla to the paradise apparatus of the human body pill cruel emulator that compressed the brain universe of the hybrid corpse mechanism gene-dub of a chemical anthropoid acidHUMANIX infectious disease of the soul/gram made of retro-ADAM. Air.ratio, the feeling replicant trash sense of drug fetus living body junk of Eric La Casa's digital vamp cold-blooded disease animals to the ultra machinary tragedy-ROM creature system that was debugged the murder game. Hunting for the grotesque WEB abolition world-codemaniacs of the terror fear cytoplasm that was send back out to the DNA channels of the biocapturism nerve cells corpse feti streaming of a clone boy technojunkies' era respiration-byte to hyperreal HIV scanner form Eric La Casa joints.
Kenji Siratori, author of Blood Electric

As his installations have repeatedly demonstrated, Eric La Casa has a keen ear for those phenomena of regular (or less) occurrences whose musical character can be conveniently exploited from an artistic point of view. Such is the case of "the flow of air in modern architecture", of which this album presents thirty examples, each one two minutes long, that range from soft to quite hard and were recorded by La Casa - "with or without authorization" - in restaurants, hospitals, libraries or even illustrious toilets (Radio France, the Georges Pompidou Art Center). Some of these currents sound like a gentle wind resonating in a tube, bringing out the disguised harmony in an invisible breathing organism; but as the record goes on, there is a distinct intensity growth of the air volume, in every sense. This translates into some of the tracks becoming a sort of industrial chorale, with extraneous clicking and creaky sounds adding spice to the pressure on the auricular membranes: imaginary moans take place in our mind during a progressive alienation from the surrounding world, made easier by the consecutiveness of the thirty samples which bring the duration of the disc to over 63 minutes of non-idiomatic droning. A pulmonary system that works wonders from the speakers (maybe you can add your own ventilation; the author also suggests a random playback or even more copies of the CD listened at the same moment to increase the variety). Given that "La Casa" means "The House" in Latin language, this feels like a necessary exploration for the inquisitive French artist.
Touching Extremes, Massimo Ricci, August 2006

Non c’è dubbio, siamo di fronte ad un intuizionista. Nel senso che lo scrittore Colson Whitehead attribuisce alla protagonista del suo romanzo “L’intuizionista”, Lila Watson, prima ispettrice donna di colore dell’ispettorato Ascensori. Lila, al contrario degli empiristi, è perennemente in ascolto di ascensori, dei loro guasti, dei loro problemi... Con questa piccola e assai consigliata extravaganza letteraria si introducono questi piccoli gioielli sonori: “Secousses Panoramiques” e “Air.ratio” di Éric La Casa pubblicati ripettivamente da Hibari e Sirr.
Compositore ormai consacrato tra i grandi dell’arte acusmatica, La Casa ci offre fantastiche inquadrature sonore di spazi di transito e luoghi interstiziali rappresentati rispettivamente dagli ascensori (“Secousses Panoramiques”) e dalle riprese sonore di impianti di ventilazione meccanica (“Air.ratio”), registrati per la maggior parte a Parigi. Spontanea una domanda: documenti sonori o composizioni musicali? Nella logica della ricezione musicale la domanda è assolutamente legittima, e non è indifferente alla prassi compositiva del nostro Eric (si leggano a questo proposito e con grande attenzione, le note di copertina di “Air.ratio”). Dunque: posso considerare questo lavoro sia una testimonianza, o per dirla con le parole dell’ecologia acustica, un catalogo di sound marks di artefatti umani, ma anche una composizione acusmatico-musicale tout court.
Ho prestato così attenzione a quest’ultimo aspetto, anzi, l’aspetto musicale si è manifestato a partire dalla fonte, in modo esplicito, proprio in “Secousses Panoramique”. Ma com’è possibile comporre a partire da immagini sonore così nitide, non solo con quella pulizia di suono a cui ormai La Casa ci ha abituato, ma anche, in questo caso, utilizzando fonti sonore così ‘riconoscibili’, esplicite, facilmente riconducibili ad una abitudinarietà dell’ascolto (passivo?) del quotidiano? Come l’obiettivo cinematografico, anche il microfono, può essere puntato ovunque e la composizione inizia già a partire dalla scelta accurata dello strumento microfono e della sua posizione nella spazio e la sua conseguente relazione spaziale con il soggetto ripreso. In questo La Casa è un maestro. Un grande fonico al lavoro si direbbe se non fosse che non è possibile rimanere indifferenti alla sua sensibilità del tutto musicale con cui maneggia gli strumenti del mestiere. Così emergono differenti profondità di campo grazie anche ad un accuratissimo montaggio fatto di inquadrature fisse e che rendono gli stacchi del montaggio ancora più evidenti quando la prospettiva sonora cambia radicalmente. La Casa, ci accompagna su e giù per gli ascensori di Radio France, interni, esterni, sale di attesa e punti di ‘udito’ dell’ascensore sul mondo circostante: primo piano di sala macchina e di sala trazione. E poi ancora su e giù per La Défense, La Villette, luoghi celebri, ma anche indirizzi comuni, con tanto di numero civico in retrocopertina, per chi volesse recarvisi (!). Insomma, dato un soggetto così, (in epoca di facili revisionismi, perdonatemi l’utilizzo demodé del termine), postmoderno, i materiali, gli eventi sonori diventano veramente molti e le loro possibili combinazioni, infinite. La Casa accosta come solo lui sa fare l’indicibile e l’inascoltato, anzi ciò che è continuamente ascoltato, ma a cui mai si è prestato attenzione musicale. La Casa ci offre la prospettiva musicale di un soggetto altrimenti in-ascoltabile o, che è peggio, di un soggetto che è spesso costretto ad ascoltare muzak peggiore di quella che da solo è in grado di produrre. Il fantomatico fronte di liberazione degli ascensori ha finalmente annichilito muzak e volgari dialoghi umanoidi.
Queste considerazioni valgono senz’altro anche per “Air.ratio” dove la prospettiva compositiva si radicalizza, così come il metodo sistematico con cui La Casa cataloga le proprie fonti. È sicuramente il contenuto acustico-spettrale degli impianti di ventilazione a rendere l’ascolto musicale di difficile auscultazione. Ci troviamo di fronte a continue variazioni monocrome anche in questo caso rigorosamente ordinate e classificate. L’immagine sonora è sempre molto nitida, così come il contenuto spettrale delle fonti, altamente differenziato, grazie anche alla complessità fisica del mezzo di ‘propagazione’ sonora, risultato di studi di ingegneria meccanico-acustica. Interessante notare che in codesti prodotti meccanici le caratteristiche fisiche (densità, materiale) sono studiate in maniera tale da attutire il più possibile la componente rumorosa del mezzo di propagazione. Ed è forse proprio questa considerazione a rendere ‘bello’ l’ascolto di questo cd. La Casa, come in “Secousses Panoramiques”, ha documentato con magistrale eleganza l’imprinting sonoro di mezzi meccanici di ventilazione parigina. Proprio in quanto tale, anche agli ingegneri meccanici in ascolto di questo cd rimane un gran lavoro da fare se il fine di ogni impianto di ventilazione è anche quello di ridurne la componente rumorosa. Ma sorge spontanea una domanda: come è possibile togliere suono ad un movimento dell’aria, quando questo, di origine appunto meccanica, è genesi di ogni fenomeno sonoro? In ogni caso, massimi sistemi a parte, l’acquisto è altamente consigliato.
Fabio Selvafiorita

Is this research, documentary or sound art? For{air.ratio}, phonographer {$Eric La Casa} focuses on ventilation systems. Ominous and ubiquitous in our lives, especially in public buildings, mechanical air distribution systems generate noise we have all grown accustomed to. La Casa sticks a microphone up close to various parts of Parisian public buildings’ ventilation systems (ducts, registers, plenums and air vents) to capture the details of their songs and highlight a range of tones, textures and colors that largely go unnoticed. The field recordist could have turned these raw materials into an immersive, carefully mixed sound art piece (his {&“Les Pierres du Seuil”} series of compositions show a sharp musique concrete talent), but instead he opted for a “raw data” approach. The album consists of 30 two-minute tracks, each one presenting a different recording. There is no crossfading or any other attempt to merge the recordings - every 120 seconds, the sound abruptly changes and that’s that. This sequence of 30 tracks is bookended by two {&“Calibration”} pieces that are similarly crude collages of two-second snippets from each recording (30 x 2 = 60 seconds flat). And the album ends with a minute of silence to see if, after studying air ducts under the microscope for an hour, listeners can tune back their ears to their own ventilation system. {^Air.ratio} provides an interesting databank for ambient and experimental soundsmiths, and it does make the casual listeners more aware of their surroundings, but it lacks an interpretative dimension to make it worthy of repeated listening. In other words, the catalog format is disappointing, something that cannot be fixed by simply putting the CD player on random mode.
François Couture, all music guide

Un approccio che non è completamente scientifico ma neanche come prima istanza solo musicale. Eric La Casa è interessato dalla natura e qualità dei suoni in contesti urbani e nel corso della sua ricerca ha sviluppato una particolare sensibilità verso i procedimenti fisici di trasmissione che sono connessi a tali accadimenti. Ogni suono è vibrazione di onde che si propagano attraverso l'aria (nel vuoto il suono non esiste), quale fonte migliore allora di quella che meccanicamente stimola lei stessa la produzione d'aria nelle moderne architetture? Parliamo naturalmente di ventole, bocche d'aerazione forzata, impianti di condizionamento, sono questi inglobati nelle strutture delle nostre case, negli ambienti di lavoro, negli spazi pubblici, i mezzi meccanici ad essere oggetto dell'investigazione acusmatica del francese. L'aria è da sempre sinonimo di vita, per i musicisti sperimentali lo è anche di suono. Coerente nell'impostazione teorica ed anche godibile negli esiti questo è un album decisamente da non perdere.
Aurelio Cianciotta

Idea was simple. Eric La Casa admits himself, "It all started in 1994, in a bathroom. An air vent above the bathtub attracted my attention. There, in the dusty environment, air became noise, music. Microphones were brought into contact with this acoustic territory to transmit the sonority of the aeraulic device directly. Since that day, I have been attentive to the flow of air in the modern architecture." The CD illustrates some of La Casa's work recorded in various public buildings in Paris, such as the Maison Radio France, the Pompidou Centre, the Georges Pompidou European Hospital and the Francois Mitterand French National Public Library. La Casa's interest in air vents centered on the public washrooms. These were the most accessible places as oftentimes; he didn't even have to ask permission to record there. All that was used to record the sounds was a boom and a pair of condenser microphones. The soothing vent in the Radio France corridor is nothing like the rattling fan inside of the European Hospital Georges Pompidou. If we move inside the bathroom of the Radio France building, the fan sounds hollow, rather inhumane, while the intake air-vent in the National Public Library Francois Mitterand is all industrial noise and gore. While some fan and vent sounds are more pleasing and actually border on trance territory, others are obtuse and challenge the listener to really listen. Whether it's listening to the clues as to the age of the propelling fan, or its whereabouts, La Casa's pursuit is pure fun. It's all fair game when you're unmasking what the taxpayers' money is actually spent on.
Tom Sekowski

4'33" be damned – I always preferred that piece by Max Neuhaus where he shepherded the listeners out of the concert hall, onto a bus, stamped the backs of their hands with the word "LISTEN" and drove them off to the Holland Tunnel (I think it was). It's a pity Eric La Casa wasn't around at the time with his state-of-the-art mics to record it, as he's one of the best listeners in the business. Air.Ratio finds him lurking in the nether regions of various public buildings in Paris – the Pasteur Institute, the Maison Radio France, the Pompidou Centre and the more recent Pompidou Hospital, to name but a few – recording the sounds of the air ducts. You'd be surprised how different they all sound too, as the opening and closing "Calibrations" (one minute's worth of two-second extracts of each of the 30 two-minute tracks on the album, the aural equivalent of a photographic contact sheet) make abundantly clear. Actually the second "Calibration" isn't the last track on the disc – the album ends with a minute's silence. "The absence of sound reactivates the centrality of the listener in his attention to sound and musical construction, in his private place," explains La Casa (no comment on the translation.. I did it actually). Anyway, if you have to take a pee in the new National Public Library one day and find a bloke in there with a portable DAT recorder, don't be surprised. Is it art? Is it music? Who gives a toss? Listen.–
Dan Warburton

Discovers a new area of interest – “the air flow in modern architecture”.
After reading the liner notes, there will certainly be a lot of people criticising “air.ratio” for being a mere bunch of recordings without compositional value. Actually, Eric la Casa himself is the first to mention it: “This CD is intended to be an object without distinctive function”. On the other hand, great art has more than once benefited from ambiguity and the creative input of the listener – and this album certainly does a great job at uncovering structures of beauty where there seemed to be nothing but functionality.

Besides, a great concept can take you far, but it is the moment, when an idea turns into sound that its relevance is determined. La Casa was lying in a bathtub, somewhere, looking up at the ceiling and listening to the air vent stubornly working above him. In the heat of the waves engulfing him and the “dusty environment” of the room, this subliminal sensation suddenly took on a meaning far away from its intended purpose – it turned into music. Fascinated by this, the composer recorded the event and discovered a new area of interest – “the air flow in modern architecture”. Six years later, he started the project which would lead to “air.ratio” and wandered into a host of buildings in Paris with the aim of documenting their vents, occasionaly asking for permission, occasionaly taping at his own convenience. Naturally, there were two apects to this endeavour, a quasi-scientific one (in the sense of choosing a representative mix of locations and of focussing on certain sonic qualities) and a musical one (by subjecting them to an emotive listening process afterwards), but none of the two claimed exclusiveness – this was a personal mission and if it satisfied his subjective curiosity, Eric would change the parameters of the experiment by e.g. allowing in noises of the ventilation’s surroundings. A total of thirty extracts have made it to the finished CD, each of them exactly two minutes long and fluently flowing into the next. The result is a long, continous drone, which, on the surface, changes its timbre in fixed intervals and emanates an ambiance of wideness, spaciousness and concentrated intensity. On a deeper examination, the facets and rich details become visible and one can’t help but marvel at the ever-different characteristics of the individual shafts: The aggressive corridor of the Eurpean Hospital Georges Pompidou, the darkly whistling winter winds of the Institute Pasteur or the galactically majestic dignity of the “Radio France” toilet.
To answer the critics’ remarks: If you didn’t know about the way this was produced, it would not take anything away from these howling, screaming, whispering, singing, threatening and comforting miniatures. And the omnipresence of the objects under scrutiny means that you can now go out and discover those black holes of sound for yourself. “Air.ratio” is an exciting experiment, an excursion to the borders of sound and an extraordinary album – who cares, if it needs to be labelled as “music” or not?
Tobias Fischer


"... l'aria è da sempre sinonimo di vita, per i musicisti sperimentali lo è anche di suono..."
Come non gradire questo genere di metafora, partita recentemente dalla mente di Aurelio Cianciotta sulle pagine di Neural, quando si è trovato a discutere e valutare proprio la fresca prova (ariosa) di Eric La Casa sprigionata da "Air.Ratio".
E' la prima volta che stabilisco di far diventare la citazione di un ‘collega’ preludio di una recensione, ma era davvero difficile resistere alla tentazione di far conoscere ai lettori di Kathodik, con tali parole, la linfa vitale (acusmatica) di cui è ripiena questa carrellata di registrazioni atmosferiche-ambientali davvero anomala.
E allora, direte voi, con quali particolari strumenti abbiamo l'onore di entrare questa volta in contatto attraverso l’ascolto di “Air.Ratio”?.
Il musicista-sperimentatore francese è stato sempre attratto dai fenomeni sonori rilasciati dall’atmosfera circostante: in tutti questi anni di produzioni Eric La Casa ha perseguito una ricerca volta allo studio della natura, alla qualità dei suoni da lei sprizzati, ponendo una distinzione tra contesti urbani e non.
Ogni suono è una vibrazione di onde, percettibili o meno, che mediante enigmatici procedimenti elettro-acustici è possibile ‘musicare’. Oltre alla scuola concreta francese, di cui La Casa è degno erede, rimetto mano (e mente) alle parole (spero mai ‘sopite’) di John Cage che non smise mai di elevare a magnificenza del suono anche i rumori più assordanti e, apparentemente, lontani da ogni ubicazione musicale.
Tornando a questo nuovo cd della Sirr scorgiamo il nostro artista intento nella singolare registrazione di macchinari che stimolano e producono (artificiosamente) l’aria; per capirci meglio, Eric ha raccolto nella città di Parigi, tra il 2000 e il ’03, un cospicuo archivio di suoni provenienti da condizionatori, ventole, bocche d'aerazione forzata, impianti di condizionamento. Si è limitato volutamente a campionare solo macchinari che risiedessero nei moderni edifici della propria città: l’ospedale europeo Georges Pompidou, la biblioteca nazionale Francois Mitterand, il famoso centro di arte contemporanea Pompidou...
Sotto un profilo unicamente uditivo, è veramente complesso l’ascolto del disco, ci troviamo dinanzi ad una raccolta di suoni che potremmo accostare, per volume e tonalità, a drones massici e ostici.
Un lavoro non solamente di semplici field recordings, ma soprattutto un manufatto sonoro altamente concettuale che scava in profondità alla ricerca dell’anima più nascosta del suono, dell’aria e del magnifico ambiente che ci circonda ogni giorno, celando tra esso paradisi sonori ancora sconosciuti.
sergio eletto,

Musicien d’environnement, spécialisé dans les installations établissant des rapports privilégiés entre la spécificité d’un lieu et ses interdépendance sonores, Eric La Casa se passionne pour les enregistrements territorialisés, dont les traces définissent autant les spécificités de l’activité humaine que la mécanique des sons livrés à eux-mêmes. Ce travail de perception du réel conduit directement le musicien à des projets comme ce Air.ratio, exercice de captation tournant autour de la ventilation mécanique. Pour ce projet radiophonique – réalisé dans le cadre de l’émission Surpris par la Nuit de France Culture -, Eric La Casa introduit l’auditeur dans le corps de bâtiments placés sous assistance respiratoire, interrogeant dans les processus de gestion artificielle de l’air les scénarios acoustiques de nos cadres de vie intérieurs et leurs subtils jeux de variations. Des toilettes de la maison de Radio France au Musée d’art moderne de Beaubourg, du parking de la Cité de la Musique aux couloirs de l’Hôpital européen Georges Pompidou, Air.ratio nous entraîne dans un parcours sémillant de souffleries baroques, ventilant des nappes épaisses dans des séances d’écoute à la densité brute. Une ligne de pigmentation auditive dans laquelle le musicien glisse des morceaux choisis d’œuvres de compositeurs épousant les mêmes masses compactes. Les compositions architecturales de Marc Behrens, les expériences aérées de Jean-luc Guionnet ou les musiques d’ébranlements de Stéphane Rives s’incorporent donc dans ces roulements vibratoires sur lesquels notre ouïe surfe avec une volupté tactile. Une manière de se pencher avec curiosité sur les fonds sonores qui accompagnent nos existences quotidiennes sans que nous en ayons toujours forcément parfaitement conscience. Laurent Catala,

When frequenting a bathroom in the year of ‘94, the attention of sound-artist Eric La Casa was ensnared by an air vent settled just over the bathtub and he has been smitten ever since. Air.Ratio is the ensuing document which speaks of ventilation systems and their relations not only with sound, but also with the body, its processes, regulation and subsequent management. As Casa notes, these ventilation systems, these artificial respirators, as he calls them, speak to the mechanization, standardization and (over)rationalization of living conditions and events. Systems such as that of ventilation behave only according to our dictates, yet we only put into execution what the machine is programmed to do, and thus an involution of each into the other. Elements of one’s behavior, of one’s environment and their intricate web of relations are dyed in different colors when rummaging through these recordings. Much which was taken for granted, as given, as natural, appears created by and subject to a history which is saturated by shifting technologies, modes of regulation, norms and the like. Armed with a pair of condenser microphones, Casa captures the operations of an array of ventilation systems, mostly those dwelling within bathrooms in buildings of various dimension and age dotted throughout Paris. Not entirely a theoretical work, the thirty short drone-pieces on display here may be appreciated for their textural richness and surprising harmonic complexity. Owing to their varying ages and quality of the air vents, each piece has a certain personality, a certain voice. Those sullied with dust and perhaps in need of a new filter spew out more turbulent sounds, more muffled, sinusoidal hums while others are quick, clean, clinical mosaics of fluctuating electricity. It’s the ideas and questions that these pieces stir up which truly fascinate though. Suddenly the bubble boy takes on a new meaning—a symbol of the future or a reality already present? Somewhere a postmodernist is sitting on a toilet in a local pub, listening to the thrum of a ventilator, and crying softly. IE mag, AUDIO VERITE, April 2007, Max Schaefer