Vacuum Chamber Ensemble
Digitally controlled tiny mechanical instruments inside of a vacuum perform chamber music variations. Vibrating steel strings, tins, springs, and tines are amplified and transmitted remotely to headphones. Sound travels to magnetic and piezo pickups to be processed into vast reverberating metallic tones and electromagnetic sub frequencies and noise emitting from the solenoid and motor coils.
Drawing from the esthetics of mechanical relays and tube technology, this work employs mechanical musical instruments performing variations of chamber scores inside of a vacuum. Vibrations in ferrous metal sources like steel strings, tins, springs, and tines are amplified through magnetic and piezo pickups inducing reverberating tones as well as and array of electromagnetic noise and low frequencies emitting from the coils in the solenoids and motors in the mechanisms.
All of these timbres are organized into digitally controlled MIDI arrangements using an embedded processor. The resulting dynamic stereo experience will be heard through wireless headphones and as the spectator moves around the structure, sensors will detect their movement and pan their headphone mix to match their position in relation to the instruments in the chamber. (see diagram above)
The physical arrangement involves an approximately 60 by 60 centimeter acrylic enclosure suspended from the ceiling about 120 centimeters from the floor. The power cable and wiring are routed up to the ceiling where it draws its power. Spectators are invited to view the sides of the chamber up close while wearing a pair of headphones.
The stereo field of the sound in the headphones will dynamically change according to one’s position. The software embedded in the sculpture will pan four channels to match the instruments in the chamber’s placement in relation to the spectators placement. As you move closer to the chamber, the volume increases and decreases as you move away.