Archivi tag: exhibition

“Polifonia liquida” – sound and light installation (video documentation and project description)


COLLAGE_polifoniaLiquida.jpg

(Photo credits Kristin Warfvinge)


“Polifonia liquida” (liquid polyphony) is a new sound and light installation exhibited at Inter Arts Center for the Gallery Night of Malmö (Sweden) on the 26th of September, 2015. See this previous post for some close-up pictures.

The work involves a series of 8 independent audiovisual systems (arranged as two groups of three and five), each one composed of a sound actuator (a contact speaker capable of inducing vibration into surfaces) and a point light source that passes through a water-filled plexi plate and projects the vibration-induced shape modifications of the water surface on the wall.

This project has a strictly musical focus: the compositional process takes into account both the sound material and the visuals generated by sound. Issues are raised in terms of relationship between the sonic and the visual perception, about the choice of the frequencies in relation to the images they will create and about the delay between the sound input and the visual response.



Eight independently-controlled Mighty Dwarf 26W vibration speakers (capable of low-frequency response) are equipped with custom-made plexi plates (laser-cut at FBRKN, in Malmö, and made concave thanks to a hot-air gun). These plates host a certain amount of water, which reacts to the frequency sent to the vibration speakers. Eight point-light sources (modified IKEA Jansjö LED lamps) project the shadow of water ripples on the walls of the venue. These lamps are turned on and off at will by a timed dimmer.




The work explores the idea of visualization of sound from a strictly musical perspective. The installation is not a bare game of more or less defined Chladni patterns but wants to investigate a possible re-contextualization of compositional parameters, structures and processes in the frame of an audiovisual system that is partly physical, and for this reason depending on the physical qualities of the materials involved. The response time of water to the vibrating stimuli is a fertile constraint that influences the development of the sonic and visual material along time.

There are some crucial musical aspects that have been explored — even partially — in the making of this installation:

  • tension between monophonic and polyphonic gestures, controlling how independent each audiovisual system is from each other (not only in the rhythm parameter, but also in the frequency and amplitude domain, thus greatly influencing the visual result);
  • tension between solo and tutti, also offering different subdivisions of the 8-elements ensemble and creating a dialogue between the groups and/or the soloists;
  • time-related processes, typical of renaissance music, such as dialogue between two parts (“cori battenti”), canons and so on;
  • figures of space, letting the sound and the images travel through defined paths in the exhibition space.

Another level of presence-absence of material is given by the DMX system switching on and off the lights (DMX controller+dmmer). In this case the tension between darkness and light is a filter on the visual aspect of the work and acts in the same way than the sound-silence dichotomy. Silence is not used in the installation; instead, high-pitched sine waves have been employed, for two reasons:

  • to create a complementary (in pitch) material to the low frequencies needed to make the plates vibrate (silence would have been too “absent” and to similar to certain low sounds which are not perceived as belonging to the center of our optimal auditory space);
  • to prevent the listener’s ear from getting used (and tired) of the prolonged presence of the low part of the audible range, thus giving the listener a sort of “blank space” — actually a dark space, being the high frequencies always associated with the shutting down of the lights (since the “ensemble” was considered as a sum of three plus five audiovisual systems, it happened that only three or five of the lights were off while the others were on, so in those cases the room was not completely dark).

(Thanks to Fabriken Malmö and its crew for plexi-cutting the discs. The work was hosted and created for Inter Arts Center Malmö.)


PolifoniaLiquida_02.png




Until the realization of the final project, many tests with synthetic waves (sines, square waves, …) have been carried out with different materials in order to visualize the shapes of the water surface. The best result was obtained with plexi plates. I recorded some test videos in which different frequencies and materials produce different results. Some of those videos are available clicking on these links:



Annunci

Transforming a wooden floor into a multichannel sound system: “Wooden waves”, video documentation


unnamed.png


Finally I prepared the video documentation of “Wooden Waves”, an installation originally conceived for the beautiful windmill of Harplinge, which is now turned into a hub for experimental arts (HarpArtLab), for the BZZZ! international sound art festival (July 2015).

(You may also take a look at the pictures I uploaded to a previous blog post.)

Eight contact speakers are attached to the floor’s wooden planks.

The listener lays down on the floor, transformed in a resonating surface.

Sound is perceived not only through the ears, but mostly through the body of the listener.

By stimulating the body in 8 different areas, a spatialization of the tactile sensation is put into play. This makes it possible to shift the use of space – typical of the electroacoustic composition approach – from the external dimension of the environment to the internal dimension of the body of the listener.



“Audiotactile chair” at the Darmstadt Ferienkurse – documentation video

Documentation from the first setup at the 47° Darmstadt Ferienkurse (August 2014).

The project consists of a chair with eight vibration speakers attached. The speakers stimulate the tactile perception of the audience in eight distinct parts of their body.

Realized for “Composition beyond music” workshop (Peter Ablinger, tutor)

With support by Kulturbryggan and Musikaliska Akademien

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BWlqvEOy6Q

Video footage: Christine Schorkhüber

“Tactile headset”, listen with your head

This is the second work created at the residency at Park in Progress (Mons, Belgium), September 2nd-11th 2014. The other installation was “Subverted spatialization interface”, described in a previous post: check it out here.

“Tactile headset” is an installation that explores tactile perception of sound as vibration.

Poster

I built a cluster of four vibrating polystyrene spheres, hanging from the ceiling. Sound was traveling from sphere to sphere and the audience could experience it with the bones and skin of their head, as in a tactile quadraphonic headphone set. This work was a way to reference headphone listening (even binaural listening, since there were four sources), but translated into the tactile domain.

TactileHeadset01_1000x1500.jpg

Picture by Zoé Tabourdiot

HZ2A7230.JPG

Picture by Zoé Tabourdiot

New sound installation: “Subverted spatialization interface”

Foto: Zoé Tabourdiot

During the residency at Park in Progress (Mons, Belgium), September 2nd-11th 2014, I was able to produce two new sound installation involving contact speakers.

In “Subverted spatialization interface”, one of the two new works, I used three vibrating devices under a 70×70 cm wooden board. The devices were shaking the board at 30 and 60 Hz.

The piece was shown during the European night of young creation (Sept. 11th) and the documentation video was exhibited 14th-27th September (Site des anciens abattoirs, Mons).

“Subverted spatialization interface” is an ironic installation which presents a real-world version of the software interface used by electroacoustic musician to spatialize sound, often represented on computer screens as a circle that the musician can move within a square. In this installation, the spatialized vibration under a square wooden board causes a little ball to stroll around. The dimensions of visual input and audio output are then subverted: imperceptibly spatialized sound is the cause which produces visual, concrete results.

Realized at the Park in Progress sound art residency 2014 in Mons (Belgium).

Transcultures / Pépinières européennes pour jeunes artistes / Citysonic

Foto: Zoé Tabourdiot

Foto: Zoé Tabourdiot