| work by Dylan McLaughlin



It Sounds Like a River Leaping and Falling; It Sounds Like a Body Falling Apart

vibrations modulate gene body landscape topography sound choreographed in geometric swell monumental movement oscillation connection burrows into skin into blood into bone

corporeal quartet resonates quadraphonic panning rhythm sines; melody of humanity, of living familiar tongue because it is felt ambient open air audio frequencies from the largest body we can know, intimately

duets of chance visceral vibrations, pressures and displacements washing through spectral spaces massaged moments of intersecting waves determined by waves in polyphonic conversation

Dylan McLaughlin
The People Who Invent the Tools to Invent the Dismantling of a World In Harmony

In the 1957, American company Fairchild Semiconductor is becoming one of the leaders of technological innovation through the evolving design of the transistor and integrated circuit, paving the path for the technological world we’ve come to know so intimately. 

The legacy of Fairchild is a dissonant one, being responsible for everything from the ArmaLite rifle, the AR15, the Apollo guidance computer, and chips for nuclear missiles. In an era before overseas production outsourcing, Fairchild built a factory in Shiprock, New Mexico, hiring over a thousand Navajo women. The company presented the idea to the Navajo Nation as craft production, comparing transistor design to that of textile design. Not mentioning the exploitive intentions of choosing the workforce due to a lack of labor rights asserted by the women. This is a perpetuation of dissonance.

Another story tells that the evolution of the design of the transistor eventually leads to the development of the integrated circuit based synthesizer. The oscillation of which has become present in just about every aspect of the world we experience.

The People Who Invent the Tools to Invent the Dismantling of a World In Harmony is an embodiment of these tensions in history and technology. It exists as an instrument built on a synthesizer circuit, creating patterns of oscillation feedback. It exists as instrument of the embodiment of place in an act of story and dissonance.

Dylan McLaughlin
Field Notion

Landscape creates frequency. A perfectly complex system of notation that orchestrates the way plants root, the way water flows, the way tectonic plates shift. It is possible to witness these frequencies - through light, through color, through geography, through the ensemble of sounds audible. We experience those within the human sonic perception, as well as those too low or high for us to hear. Human beings have embedded landscapes with resonant characters, resonant actors. This body of work explores a contextualizing of landscapes as score. An exploration of resonant affect.


Dylan McLaughlin
At a Glimpse of a Boundary

Exploration and collaboration with Marlee Grace at the edge of the world. Soundtrack by Emily A. Sprague. Commission on Super 8mm by Echo Park Film Center in Los Angeles, CA.


Dylan McLaughlin
And So We Sing the Land

Coherence/Interference was an audience-generated sound performance comprised of a large video projection, two regalia-draped figures -- one containing a smaller tablet-sized video and the other operating as an interactive sound device.  This piece was an active response to the nearby Chevron Questa Mine Superfund site, featured in both videos. The smaller video shared facts about the mines legacy interspersed with the phrase "and so we sing the land." The larger projection featured drone-shot video of the mined landscape. This image was manipulated by a computer program that synced to a microphone-like instrument embedded in the second figure.

The sonic dimension of the piece was based on the ancestral musical scoring practice of Northern Plains people, which was defined by the study of horizon lines and the response of "singing the land’s song-lines." Coherence/Interference invited individual audience members to participate in this singing practice by placing one's face inside of a miked mask and creating a vocalization. The singing voice cleared the video projection's distortion, revealing the landscape. The singer, however, was masked from seeing the impact of their voice, sacrificing their own vision so that others can see clearly. Coherence/Interference effectively bound geography to culture, creating an opportunity for audiences to resonate with the landscape and participate in its healing. The piece is part of a larger body of work called CauseLines that investigates sites affected by extraction with aims to share Indigenous practices in the healing of sacred land. 

Winter Count collaborated with artists Jesse Hazelip and Ann Lewis .

Written by curator Erin Elder


Dylan McLaughlinTaos Paseo
Spaces. Hanna Sutterlee

Exploring spaces with Hanna Sutterlee, in MASS MoCA. A start to a series of Vermont based collaborations. Orchestrated while I was in residence at the Museum over the winter.

Dylan McLaughlin
In Transition Is The Most Honest - Winter Count

In Transition Is The Most Honest is based within the realm of CauseLines. CauseLines is a multi-disciplinary interactive and investigative approach to geography by art collective Winter Count. This work engages a historic technology of music composition used by people of the Northern Plains. This is a practice of studying horizon-lines from which to create melody and tone repertoire. It is a process of resonating the landscape. Binding geography to culture. Singing the song-lines of belonging. We reference this pedagogy through a confluence of newer technological platforms. We’re creating scores from imagery of drone aerial footage that we have generated during times of resistance in places under threat of extractive industries. Places of Cause. This imagery follows natural and human influenced landscapes; river-lines, tree-lines, road-lines, pipe-lines. These are the CauseLines from which we score. The intention of these scores is to invite processes of belonging, clarity of place. Not creating meaning but finding the meaning that already exists. The scores are to be interpreted as song, as dance, as story. It is from the complexity of interpretation, subjectivity of improvisation, that we begin dialogue around how we establish our practice of place.

Dylan McLaughlin
Portrait of Leo Yerxa - NONAM

A commission by the Nordamerika Native Museum in Zurich, Switzerland.  A Portrait of Leo Yerxa followed the artist in conversation in the last days of his abundant creative life and artistic career. The video was shown as part of a solo show at the museum in Zurich.

Dylan McLaughlinComment
You and I Should Try Again (Pt. 1)

The video for Starry Skies Opened Eyes is a collaboration between Diné filmmaker Dylan McLaughlin and Tlingit Unangax̂ artist Nicholas Galanin. Starry Skies Opened Eyes features vocals from multidisciplinary Métis artist Moe Clark. The album was recorded over a three year period that saw Jackson narrowly escape death in a hunting accident, and traces his path to newfound perspectives on life through love and gratitude… friends and family.

Starry Skies Opened Eyes is a record of resonance, transformation and re-emergence—of Jackson losing himself in the blackness between light, drifting through dark horizons, reflecting the sky. This introspective illumination unfolds in a dream-like flow of cosmia, echoing out over the album’s 11 tracks.

Silver Jackson is the musical alias of multi-talented Tlingit/Aleut artist Nicholas Galanin. Starry Skies Opened Eyes, Jackson’s second album, is an effortless evolution of his style and aesthetic, where electronic-inflected, acoustic folk experiments abound with clever melodic turns and spiralling harmonies, fading and swimming through percussive clicks, crackles, and looping rhythms. Recorded over a three year period that saw Jackson narrowly escape death in a hunting accident, the album traces his path to newfound perspectives “on life through love and gratitude...friends and family”. Starry Skies Opened Eyes is a record of resonance, transformation and re-emergence—of Jackson “losing [himself] in the blackness between light”, drifting through dark horizons, reflecting the sky. This introspective illumination unfolds in a dream-like flow of cosmia, echoing out over the album’s 11 tracks.

Jackson traverses the shifting sonics of this polyvocal landscape with melodic dialogue textured by a host of collaborators, including Samantha Crain, OCnotes, Benjamin Verdoes, Jesse Hughey, Vox Mod, and Catherine Harris-White. It is the sound of a future-now, where Indigenous presence is an act of creation, continually being renewed.

Music - Silver Jackson - Starry Skies Opened Eyes ft. Moe Clark

Directors - Nicholas Galanin & Dylan McLaughlin
Director of Photography - Dylan McLaughlin (vimeo.com/dylanmclaughlin)
Timelapse star footage - Renan Ozturk
Woman in Water - Merritt Johnson
Woman in Car - Liberty Yablon

Dylan McLaughlin