Knife Name

Completed: 2004

Details: 2,068 wedding silver knife blades, spectrograph of Heffernan speaking her maiden name, Bolduc

Knife Name (Maiden) installation consists of thousands of tableware knife blades precisely hung to form an enlarged 3-dimensional spectrograph of my speaking my maiden name. Resembling a topographical map, a spectrograph is produced from an audio recording mapping the voice in three dimensions: time, frequency and amplitude. Combining scientific sound graphing technologies with domestic implements to represent the lost utterance—silent yet shimmering in space—I hope to explore the dynamics of naming and speaking in the nexus of marriage, science, and law. (The forged steel knife blades in this installation were manufactured by Lamson & Goodnow for luxury silverware companies. After silver handles were attached to the blades they were included in sets of tableware sold primarily as wedding gifts.)

Spectrograph of Heffernan speaking, "Bolduc." Recorded and analyzed by Marcus Iseli ( PhD candidate) Speech Processing & Auditory Perception Lab, UCLA, 2004

Special thanks to Markus Iseli, PhD candidate (2004), of the Speech Processing & Auditory Perception Laboratory, UCLA, for generously producing the voice recording, spectrographs and huge volume of installation graphs for “Knife Name (Maiden).” I am appreciative of Prof. Abeer Alwan, Director of SPAPL, for facilitating my project there.

Kurt Zanner, President, Lamson & Goodnow, for sponsoring my 2003 residency at L&G, the United States’ oldest cutlery manufacturer, and for donating two tons of knife blades.