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Interactive Installations : 60 (1995)

"60" is a version of Very Nervous System designed especially for the "I am Listening" show of sound sculptures at the Glendon Gallery at York University, Toronto, Canada. I was struck, when surveying the hallway in which I was to install my work, by the presence of several idiosyncratic noises in the space. I asked the people who worked in the building if they heard any noises in the hallway, and they all said no. But, in fact there was a fairly strong 60 Hertz buzz from the flourescent lighting. I decided that it would be interesting to use that 60 Hertz tone as a foundation for an interactive sound installation. "60" uses the softVNS.htmlI motion processor, and a additive synthesis digital synthesizer constructed out of a $200 Motorola DSP evaluation board. I divided the space of the hallway into 64 regions (I believe in a 4 x 16 matrix). The camera was mounted above the entry way so that passages along the hall stimulated the regions from the top down, if people were leaving and from the bottom up, if people were entering. Each region controlled the amplitude of one sinewave. Each sinewave was tuned to a multiple of 60 Hertz, so that each sine was in a harmonic relationship to the buzz of the lights. The amount of movement in each zone controlled the amplitude of a low frequency sine wave that in turn controlled the amplitude of the tone associated with that region. The rates of the low frequency waves were mathematically related to the actual frequency of the tone. The overall volume of the piece was usually quite low, so that the harmonics blended into the buzz of the lights, and seemed to rise out of it. If someone stimulated the system for some time, the overall amplitude would increase so that more focussed exploration was possible. (Next)


"I am Listening", Glendon Gallery, York University, Toronto, Canada.
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