This project was done for the Intermedia Studio led by Paul DeMarinis and Jaroslaw Kapuscinski at Stanford University. It is a continuation and expansion of Sirens, but also a homage and reaction to the work of Iannis Xenakis with architecture, space, and sound.
The tetrahedral artifact described in Sirens (emitting a set of four carefully detuned sine tones around 500Hz) stands suspended in the middle of a sunken center section of the room. It is surrounded by black wires forming shapes reminiscent of Xenakis’s 1958 World Expo pavilion design, themselves surrounded by sheets of off-white cloth catching the wires’ shadows. Together these block direct access to, but also allow a winding path to and around, the central artifact. At the perimeter of the room is a ring of eight loudspeakers emitting a duplicated group of sine tones that would make up a Pythagorean set of a low missing fundamental, but each repeated set is slightly detuned from the others.
The room is filled with these two sounds – that of the enclosing omnipresent low note, and of the center-piece’s higher softer hum. Both shimmer and pulsate differently (due to the slight detunings) depending on the location of the listener, revealing and emphasizing different aspects of themselves and their interactions with one another from each new point of audition.
Picture credit: Ben Eloy