through continuo

30th May, 2012

maya.rouvelle-through continuo

this is a collaborative project with lili maya, our website is here.

composed of electronics and paper, through continuo is a work for the Brooklyn Zen Center’s No-Eyes Viewing Wall, and part of the Silence and Noise exhibit (April 13, 2012-Through winter ’13), co-curated by Noah Fischer and Terence Caulkins.

through continuo is installed on the walls and ceiling of the gallery. the dimensions of the work on the wall are approximately 9′x16′, there are five small piezo speakers coupled with glass mueller tubes suspended from the high ceiling in front of the work by approximately 3′ – one needs to look up to see them. the speakers/mueller tubes occupy roughly the same space as the wall installation. shadows from the components installed in the ceiling (including wiring) form changing compositions with the circuitry, wiring and paper mounted on the wall. the gallery has large windows so the lighting conditions change throughout the day. the piece is lit with a mix of electric and natural light. the work emits very quiet sounds from its piezo speakers. the amplitude of the audio is intentionally on the threshold of hearing, and the placement of the speakers creates a spacialized listening experience. small, white LEDs with varying brightness and frequency (described below) and white wires are integrated into the paper mounted on the wall. the paper has been embossed by hand.

through continuo is a constellation of events. some are random: gamma-ray detection and the presence and behaviors of visitors, and some are composed: the sonification of the gamma-rays (the very quiet pops and clicks one hears around the work, emanating from piezo speakers mounted in the ceiling), the look of the installation, and the changing frequencies of the LEDs. “frequencies” of the LEDs refers not to the brightening and dimming, but to the changing rates of pulsation. this feature of the work is very difficult to document. a short video is here.

gamma radiation detected by our sensors are transposed into sound and light. the relationship between the gamma-ray detection and the pops and clicks of sound is linear, 1:1. the relationship between the soft pops and clicks to changes in the frequencies of the LEDs is statistical, non linear. each led has its own pattern of brightening, dimming, and pulsating, and those behaviors are influenced by a statistical analysis of gamma-ray detection in real time.

essentially, the work has linear and logarithmic relationships based on random events. for the viewer, this creates an experience that oscillates between one’s impulse to understand events as sequential/temporal and a work that is inherently spectral, i.e., based on persistent, shifting frequencies.

in the context of binary title of this show, Silence and Noise, we’re thinking about time and frequency, and how one’s experience is persistently both, but how from an increasing number of perspectives time is an illusion unique to the human mind. the universe, it seems, is not sequence, it is waves – but we are wired so that to us its always both. in through continuo the linear relationship between the gamma-ray events and the audible clicks is a noise element in that it evokes the temporal mind, and the silence is the silence of the visible change in LED frequency.

the Silence and Noise effect is that the work itself is an oscillation, a wavelet and an interval between the two.

for more images go here.

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