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Interactive Installations : Measure (1992)

Measure is a variation of the Very Nervous System, using an extremely simple and regular sound source, a ticking clock. A virtual acoustic space is presented through which this sound resonates. Movements, rather than manipulating the controls of a synthesizer, transform the acoustic behaviour of this virtual space. This virtual space shifts, collapses and explodes relative to the gestures of the people in the area around the clock.

The actual installation involves a ticking clock suspended in the middle of the installation space, and an interactive acoustic processing system triggered and controlled by movements around the clock. The clock's ticking is amplified and fed through an acoustic processor whose parameters are modified by the dynamics of gestures made by the gallery visitors in the proximity of the clock. Initially, with no movement, the straight sound of the clock is heard. Small, initial movements cause slight disturbances in the rate of flow of time, as represented by the ticking. Slightly higher levels of movement bring the ticking into self-syncopation, and beyond. Significant movement in the presents of the clock causes radical mutations of the ticking sound as the sound processor simulates the acoustic effect of the walls collapsing in and rushing out around the dynamics of the gesture. At its extreme, the measured pace of the ticking falls apart into a chaos out of which a resonant tone emerges, the pure expression of the virtual space's acoustics, under the stimulus of the by now obscured ticking. After the visitor(s) have left, the clock settles back into its steady ticking.(Next)


"New Music Across America", Toronto, Canada.

"Chaos Never Died", Seattle, U.S.A..

at the EisFabrik, as part of "Sound Art '95", Hannover, Germany.
"The Interaction '95", Gifu City, Japan.

Gallery of the Ottawa School of Art, Ottawa, Canada.

"Giver of Names", MacDonald Stewart Art Centre, Guelph University, Guelph, Canada.

performance in Pollack Hall, Faculty of Music, McGill University, Montréal, Canada.

S.O.S.: Scenes of Sound, Tang Museum, Saratoga Springs, New York, USA.

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Copyright 2000 David Rokeby / very nervous systems / All rights reserved. 12/11/00