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Entries in installations (99)

Thursday
Apr032014

Wow&Flutter

Over the years, we’ve seen quite some artists working with old media such as tape recorders and records. Jimmy Eadie is also exploring the imperfections of old media. In his work Wow&Flutter he explores the phenomena of mechanical instabilities of turntables that can cause subtle pitch variations and beating effects on playback.

The first recorded music I experienced was on vinyl and I always seem to remember the hiss, static
and random jumps of the needle as much as the music itself. I would play with the turntable speeds, changing records from 45 RPM to 33 RPM and was intrigued at this new slowed down sound world.
This piece could be considered a listening sculpture celebrating and evoking that memory.
To Eadie, the imperfections are as important as the music itself. To enhance this effect, he chose to put the music on acetate disc instead of vinyl, as those disintegrate more rapidly and thus the composition will “age” with each successive play until the surface noise becomes intertwined with the music itself. Furthermore, he used the properties of the turntables to make his composition. As he wanted the visitor to be able to make their own composition by changing the position of the needles on the eight turntables as well as the playback speeds (33, 45 and 78 RPM), he chose his sounds wisely and composed his music by calculating what the pitches of the sounds would be at other playback speeds.
Friday
Feb282014

Porcelain

Continuing in the theme of Oliver Jennings’ work we saw last week, “Porcelain” is also about exploring sounds present in everyday objects. The interactive sound installation is based around a concept by the Swiss artist Jacqueline Rommert. In this interactive sculpture she wants to merge the “old” and the “new”. By drawing you in with the old-fashioned looking porcelain plates, she wants you to touch and play the plates. As you do, you get to hear it’s “soul” and listen to it’s voice: the voice of the material itself.

“Porcelain” is an installation made for Schweitzer AG. The artist worked together with sound/installation artists Fedde ten BergeMalu Peeters and Marloes van Son to realise the project. Fedde gives us an insight on the technical workings of the project:

The sound is picked up by 4 electret microphones. When you hit a plate, a knock-sensor registers, and a short bit of the sound is sampled and used for the sounds. The knock-sensors are furthermore used for different parameters of the sound transformation and synthesis. Transformations include additive synthesis, modulation delay, sample playback speed, noise modulation and reverb. The speakers are mounted and hidden in the box itself. All of this is running in a Pure Data patch on a Raspberry Pi.

I like how this installation is quite playable reacts in different ways, and is built very neatly: everything from the system it’s running on to the speakers are neatly built in to one box.

Monday
Feb242014

Every Object Has a Spirit

Oliver Jennings is a graphic design graduate from the Camberwell College of Art. Strangely enough, he’s been focusing on sound, exploring the natural sounds present in everyday objects.

In “Every Object Has a Spirit” he does just that. Using contact microphones, he captures the inner resonances of objects. Using a device to capture bio-activity in plants, he generates MIDI-notes based on the miniscule electronic impulses.

I especially like the contact mics, as they’re an amplification of a physical resonance, and are very closely related to the object one sees. For the MIDI-triggering plants this is less true, although Jennings does make a nice composition, in sound as well as images. In the description under the video on Vimeo, there’s a legend explaining the source of the sounds in the video, which gives an insight in how the sounds are made.

The ending is also quite strong, pulling the contact-mics out of his recorder, moving from the internal sounds of the bridge to the external sound of his surroundings.

Tuesday
Dec172013

Dinámicas del Vacío

Sound art or installations are often hindered by their surroundings. As sound waves travel through the air, they also travel through walls and ceilings. This makes it difficult to completely close off a space from external noises, especially in an environment like an art museum, for example.

“Dinámicas del Vacío” (translation: “Dynamics of Emptiness”) is a sonic sculpture by artist Ariel Bustamante (we’ve seen work from him before) and architect Alfredo Thiemann. They created an huge artificial and soundproof space, isolated from the exterior. This way they can create a completely different, totally immersive experience. By using a 18 meter long, 3 meter wide suspended tube stuffed with sound equipment such as sub-basses and speakers hidden between the layers of insulation, they can set up an environment totally disconnected from the outside world on an ordinary street.

Inspired by a month’s stay in the Antarctic, Ariel Bustamante created a cold, distant, imagined landscape for the viewer to dwell in. Eerie sounds of snow are played against flashing abstract representations of the Antarctic, fueling spectators’ imagination of the unknown.

These kind of immersive experiences are quite scarce. A famous example is the Philips Pavilion, thought up and built by Le Corbusier, Iannis Xenakis and Edgar Varèse for the World’s Fair in 1958. These kind of works show that architecture and sound go hand in hand very well, and the effect the architecture has on the experience of sound is often underestimated.

See the process of placing the installation as well as an impression of the experience (from 04:15 on) in the video below.

 

Wednesday
Nov202013

Stay Tuned

An audio work and installation based on the moment when an orchestra gets in tune, before a performance. An event that I wish could last forever, which is exactly what ‘Stay Tuned’ is about.

For this installation piece consisting of a multiple speaker setup, Rutger Zuydervelt (better known under his Machinefabriek moniker) asked 150 artists to record an ‘A’, the note an orchestra normally tunes to. Each recorded note has it’s own characteristics, and is part of the whole.

The speakers are spaced so that one can walk through this orchestra of sounds, created by individual speakers emitting one characteristic ‘A’ at the time. Walking through this orchestra, your experience of the piece slightly changes as your proximity from source to source changes.

The piece was presented at Sounds Like Audio Art festival last July in Saskatoon, Canada, as well as at the Into the Great Wide Open festival on Vlieland, the Netherlands. For the latter, speakers were strapped to trees at a spacious spot in the woods. Imagine stumbling upon this installation whilst walking through the forest at sundown. Would be quite the experience. 

For more Machinefabriek I can heartily recommend the collaboration with Banabila he recently released: Travelog.

Wednesday
Nov132013

WAVES

Light and sound are two types of waves. Like radio and the waves that our cell phones make to communicate with each other. We are continuously surrounded by waves, but we never see them.


GLOW Festival is a huge, annual light-art festival which happens every November in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. It provides a platform for artists, designers and architects working with light to expose their works in the public space. I visited yesterday, and the city centre was very, very crowded. A few minutes from the city centre, GLOW Next is organised, with more experimental and often smaller works.

One of these interesting projects is WAVES, by students from OPENLIGHT: the creative lab of intelligent Lighting Institute of the TU Eindhoven (with whom I’ve worked in the past), in collaboration with 15 sound experts from Sorama. The latter created a “sound camera”, a device with 1024 microphones which can very precisely locate a sound in a space.

The students from TU/e took this technology, placed it in an industrial space, and visualised the sound waves. People are encouraged to make sounds, whistle, stomp their feet, or play one of the instruments hanging in the room to visualise their sound waves. It was an amazing sight to see a dark space full of people actively engaged in making different sounds, amazed by the projected visuals they created.

Wednesday
Aug212013

HyperCube

HyperCube is an immersive light and sound installation created by Jaap van den Elzen and Augusto Meijer. In their own words it’s:

an art installation in which the viewer is immersed in an audiovisual environment. The cube-shaped space of the Hypercube - surrounded by mirrors and dynamic lightlines - guarantees a stunning multi-sensory experience. Infinite reflections, lack of spatial reference, intense focus, disorientation and a distorted sense of time and space are key. Hypercube gives its own definition of how space can be experienced and adds a new dimension to one of the most cultivated building blocks known to mankind: the Cube.

Augusto (sound) and Jaap (video) have collaborated on various projects. To learn more about their projects visit augustomeijer.com and jaapvandenelzen.nl.

Saturday
Jun222013

Sonic Water

The most amazing results come from the simplest ideas, presented in a beautiful way. In this case, it’s a bottlecap filled with water, vibrating on a large speaker. The result: wonderful, complex patterns, recorded using a camera shooting in macro mode and projected on a large screen behind the installation. Sonic Water treats us to a great example of cymatics - the visualization of sound. 

Next to the installation there’s a room, a laboratory, where people can experiment with their own sound input: by playing a synthesizer, singing into a microphone or playing song from their phone, and see if Mozart indeed looks more harmonious than Slayer. 

The installation, created by Sven Meyer & Kim Pörksen has been shown in the Olympus OMD Photography Playground in Berlin from April 25 till May 24, 2013.

Fotos by diephotodesigner.de

Sunday
Jun162013

Murmur

“Talking to walls” is the tagline for Murmur, a video and sound installation which translates sound waves into visuals. The audience can talk into the Murmur ‘echo chamber’, and a direct visible interaction with the visuals on the walls becomes apparent. The visitor’s murmurations become visible. 

Murmur was created by a multidisciplinary group of French artists. It’s an interesting experiment, exploring visualization of sound interactively. What the direct relationship between the spoken words and the resulting visuals are remains a mistery though.

Wednesday
May292013

329 prepared dc-motors in a toluene tank

Zimoun has done it again. His installations seem to get bigger and bigger, and all based around the same principle: many small prepared dc-motors spinning endlessly like a flock of insects. This time in the form of 329 prepared dc-motors, cotton balls, toluene tank.

The sound installation is designed very clean and well. The lack of visual disturbances such as cables enhance the feeling of autonomy of these things. The tank, located in Dottikon, Switzerland, melts the gentle knocking into a cloud of sound, like rain on the roof of a tent. 

The tank from the outside. Nothing seems abnormal here.

Also read Zimoun’s answers to the ‘five sound questions’ I asked him three years ago, back in 2010. See his website to read more about his projects.