Paging Greg Lambert

Paging Greg Lambert

Paging Greg Lambert is an audio narrative / portrait of an air traffic controller at a West Coast international airport. The narrative follows Lambert through waking, early morning travel via light rail to the airport, his trip through security, a sample of his work in the air traffic control tower, and his efforts to relax with mediation in the evening before sleep, and another day at work.


Echoes Echoes #2: Intermission: Audio portraits of place—Mapping the space between A and B
Juried broadcast, international
Lisbon, Portugal
20-22 September 2013
Submissions were encouraged to create an audio map connecting sounds to place, people, ideas, situations. Curated by United Kingdom conceptual artist Jennie Savage in collaboration with the Lisbon Architecture Treinnale and Stress.FM, Lisbon, Portugal.

Echoes was a transdisciplinary art project in Lisbon, Portugal, July 2013-March 2014. Coordinated by the art collective Osso for the city of Lisbon, with a focus on thoughts, experiences, and interventions regarding listening and place, Echoes aimed "to put together thoughts, experiences and interventions on the relationship between LISTENING and PLACE."

Echoes was divided into four parts, presented over four weekends every two months July 2013-March 2014. Each Echoes in the series featured debates, concerts, workshops, soundwalks, film screenings, and radio broadcasts via Stress.FM, London, England. The common theme was how soundscape and aurality contribute to a sense of place. My works were included in each of the four parts of Echoes
Echoes #4: The Stranger That Is Next To Me
Echoes #3: Internet Soundscape
Echoes #2: Paging Greg Lambert
Echoes #1: Ambient Pulsations, Between Sleep and Dreams, and Contact.


I created and submitted Paging Greg Lambert in response to an international open call for Echoes #2: Intermission: Audio portraits of place—Mapping the space between A and B, a transdisciplinary art project in Lisbon, Portugal, curated by international sound artist Jennie Savage. Paging Greg Lambert was selected and included in the Echoes #2 program. In her response to the work, Savage said, I was so overwhelmed by the response we got from all over and the quality of the work, but I really liked Greg Lambert!

Timeline and Content

00:00 Tree frogs
Greg Lambert begins his day early, well before the first light of dawn. The first sounds he hears, in between sleep and dreaming, are the tree frogs outside his window.

00:15 Early morning traffic
More awake than dreaming, Greg begins to hear the sounds of traffic on the nearby highway, vehicular sounds from people like himself, off to work early in the morning.

00:54 Tree frog chorus
With the traffic, Greg hears the tree frogs more clearly, a final chorus before the dawn.

01:48 Birds at dawn
Greg knows the birds first sing just before the dawn. This is his alarm clock; time to arise and begin the day.

02:13 Light rail rumble
The birds continue as Greg walks to the light rail station for his commute to the airport. He hears the rumble of the wheels on the rail joints, signaling an approaching train.

02:48 Light rail ambience
On the train, bound for the airport, Greg can return to the liminal point between sleep and dreams. Eyes closed, thinking of nothing but the first cup of coffee once he arrives at work, Greg hears the bleed through from the personal listening devices used this morning by several other passengers.

3:57 Airport awakening
Arriving at the airport, Greg finds it, like himself, waking for another busy day. Restaurants are serving their first customers, shops are starting to open. Television and radio sets, volume turned low, contribute to the early morning ambience as Greg walks toward the security area.

6:23 "Greg Lambert . . . Greg Lambert . . ."
Greg hears his name on the public address system. A message awaits on the white paging telephone. What can it be?

7:27 Approaching security
Approaching the security area, the airport ambience begins to elevate. "Time to start waking up," thinks Greg.

8:31 Security check
In line now for the security check, Greg, with his airport identity card, can bypass most of the screening. The sounds of other, less fortunate travelers surround him. In the distance, someone plays a piano, or is that the in house music system?

9:27 Through security
Through security and in the concourse area, Greg stops for coffee and breakfast at a small cafe with other travelers, each radiating their jet-lagged energies in attempts to keep their bodies going even while their souls, stretched like rubber bands struggle with timely arrivals. Greg uses the time to mentally prepare for his work shift.

11:04 Flight controllers
In the darkened tower, high atop the airport, offering a windowed eye to each horizon, Greg and other flight controllers sit at terminals, directing the approaching airplane traffic. Their rapid fire directions, and the nuanced responses from the pilots weave a soundscape of assurance for the incoming flights.

16:43 Meditation
After work, Greg attempts to shed the stress of his job with mediation. Alone in the airport chapel, Greg uses his Buddha machine to focus his thoughts.

17:08 More mediation
Back home, after a quick frozen dinner, Greg continues with his mediation. Now the Buddha machine tones are more tonal, rhythmic, drone like. His thoughts are anywhere but with approaching airplanes.

19:07 Sleep
A final tonal overlay and Greg has crossed the frontier of sleep.

19:21 Tree frogs
The tree frogs provide a chorus outside his window as Greg sleeps through the night. The tires of passing vehicles whisper their secret asphalt dreams.

20:00 End
The end of one day, the beginning of another, each wheeling in concentric circles connecting sounds to places, creating maps from the soundscapes and auralities of Greg Lambert's day(s).


Object: Sound art
Format: Audio file
Bit Rate: 356kbs
Duration: 20:00
Created: 2013
Creator: John F. Barber

Artist Statement

As part of the open, international call for this project, artists were encouraged to use sounds to map the space between two points, to connect sounds to place, people, ideas, situations. I envisioned depicting, with sounds other than human voice, the stressful day of an air traffic controller. These sounds provide a narrative about the space between Greg Lambert, his work, and his life.