31 Oct @ 24 Jor Bagh, New Delhi | 5:30 PM | Sound Art installations by Marcus Maeder, Timo Kahlen, Ish S, Lars Lundehave Hansen, Salome Voegelin , Farah Mulla and Thomas Peter
Bicycle, bag, sound of swarming bees and military drones
A bicycle with a shopping bag hanging from its handlebar: filled with the dark humming, nervously whirring and buzzing sounds of a swarm of bees – and of high-end technological, electronic drones. A nomadic, charged object transferring from A to B both potential and threat.
Lars Lundehave Hansen
Somewhere in Time
Homebuilt turntables, found postcards
Somewhere in Time consists of a series of turntables that challenges time in a very radical way. The turntables, which are beautifully crafted in dark-stained MDF has more in common with sculpture than musicality and will only play Tyrolean music at the sluggish speed of 4RPM! This is where the work finds its resonance – in the dissolution of time or maybe rather an extension of time to the point where time-based communication is dissolved and remains meaningless. But because this meaninglessness exists in several versions qua the number of players, the loss of meaning is thus organized into a system that creates a new meaning in it’s own right. A musical near-vacuum that has more in common with the pause than the beat, a sound installation of crackles, distorted tones and lost bars that re-join in new harmonics, creating a sound universe parallel to the musical.
40 loudspeakers, computer.
40 loudspeakers are equally scattered over the gallery floor. Sounds of manipulating materials like wood, stone and metal are audible;Surfaces are stripped and layers dissipated, explored, and reshaped, allowing different perceptions of the room
Trees: Pinus sylvestris
Data sonification system for 3 screens, stereo speakers and touch screen
The link between trees and various climatic processes is usually not immediately apparent. Plants, in general, do not live merely on moisture from rain, sunlight (which drives gas exchange) and nutrients from the soil: they also absorb carbon dioxide from the air and produce the oxygen that we breathe, maintaining our climate and biosphere. In our research project „trees: Rendering Ecophysiological Processes Audible,“ we are working on the acoustic recording, analysis and representation of ecophysiological processes in plants and studying the acoustic and aesthetic requirements for making them perceptible. Measurements of acoustic emissions in plants are only interpretable in relation to climatic and physiological dynamics such as microclimatic conditions, sap flow and changes in trunk radius and water potential within the plants – all measurement data that is not auditory per se. Therefore, our work involves analysing the acoustic emissions mathematically, on one hand, and sonifying ecophysiological data on the other. How can phenomena that are beyond our normal perception be made directly observable, creating new experiences and opening a new window on the processes of nature? „trees: Pinus sylvestris“ is a ecophyiological data sonification and research system: Rendering audible the way in which water transport or trunk diameter, for example, are influenced by sunlight, humidity and wind allows us to identify and better understand plants’ responses to climatic processes.
Plant physiologists have known that plants emit sounds for several decades now. Many of these sounds are of transpiratory/hydraulic origin and are therefore related to the circulation of water and air within the plant as part of the transpiration process. The frequencies of these acoustic emissions lie mostly in the ultrasonic range, depending on the species-specific characteristics of the plant tissues. Some of the acoustic emissions (so-called cavitation pulses) are indications of embolism in the water transport system, which occurs when a plant is subjected to drought stress and desiccation. The excessive water tension in the water-conducting system leads to the rupture of the water columns in the plant vessels. Each plant species – in fact each plant individual – has its own acoustic signature, related to its structure and to the local climatic conditions.
Sonification of ecophysiological data
The representation of data using sound (among other means) can help to exploit the effectiveness of our sense of hearing in grasping complex contexts both through immediate orientation in space and intuitive classification of sound characteristics. Sonification offers a deep and broad insight into multidimensional data, ena-bling us to recognize patterns and providing an aesthetic and emotional experience of scientific discoveries. Gathering ecophysiological data (i.e. conducting measurements of the local climatic and environmental conditions and of the physiological processes within a plant in response to these) has become an important method in research on climate change and vegetation dynamics. It helps to determine physiological thresholds of plants in terms of increasing temperature and consequently drought stress. A downy oak (Quercus pubescnes) in the central Alps, for example, is able to withstand the current climatic conditions of the air and soil whereas a Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) is pushed beyond its physiological limits despite the fact that both tree species have coexisted there for thousands of years. Consequently, shifts in the abundance of tree species are observed, and the ecophysiological knowledge acquired explains the underlying processes.
In this installation, we have combined field recordings of meteorological phenomena, recordings of acoustic emissions in a tree and acoustic representations (sonifications) of ecophysiological data, collected on a Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) at Salgesch in the Swiss mountains in 2014. We measured relative air humidity, sap flow, stem radius changes and ultrasonic acoustic emissions (UAE) throughout an entire tree growth cycle and recorded the data at ten-minute intervals throughout the day and night. As the data relating to the ecophysiological processes was multidimensional, an analytical system is needed that focuses on the key factors and the interrelations between these and renders them intuitively perceptible.
Pinus sylvestris: Data sonification
The sonification system is based on a combination of different sonification techniques, i.e. playback of original acoustic emission recordings (by transposing them into the audible domain) and parameter mapping sonification, whereby the sound parameters of a sample player (amplitude, pitch and filters) and the sound distribution system (spatial position or movements of virtual sound sources) are controlled by the data flow. The different sonification modules are implemented in a set of Max Patches, which replays the measurement data of a Scots pine throughout an entire growth cycle. For an adequate (temporal) experience of the key processes, the speed of the running system is increased up to 36 times the normal speed to take into account the ten-minute measuring intervals. A larger number of ecophysiological and meteorological phenomena do not manifest themselves acoustically, and it is a challenging task to generate metaphorical sounds to portray a single phenomenon, such as sunlight or air humidity effectively. Besides the diurnal course of the tree’s response to sunlight, there are many other recognizable patterns: As it gets drier in the summer, the cavitation events become longer, sometimes lasting deep into the night; the stressed plant needs more time to refill with water from the soil. In addition, the number of cavitation sounds is greater when a plant is well drained and exposed to full sunlight than in very dry periods.
„trees: Rendering ecophysiological process audible“ is a research project conducted by the Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology ICST of the Zurich University of the Arts ZHdK, in collaboration with the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL. „trees“ is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and the Zurich University of the Arts ZHdK.
Artistic realization and programming: Marcus Maeder (ICST)
Scientific data and analysis: Roman Zweifel (WSL)
Programming support: Philippe Kocher (ICST)
Technical engineering field measurements: Jonas Meyer (ICST, decentlab)
When mirrors face each other, the objects reflected in them become smaller and less distinct until the mirrors seem merely to reflect themselves. An echo is differentiated by being made of (one or more) distinct and discrete repetitions of the original sounds. Aural mirror is an installation, which tries to immerse the listener in the echo’s of their own sounds. It is not only a mirror in the metaphorical sense of reflecting (sounds) as a mirror but a psychoanalytical sense of the sonorous womb. As the listener enters the installation the ambient sounds of their movement and voice are picked up by the microphones and played back into the space. These repetitions of sounds are reflected within the space until they abstracted into a drone. This drone devoid of any signifying content keeps looping back on itself. This opens up a space in which the listener hears first an acoustic impact, followed by echo effect, followed by clear out-of-phase sounds. Psychoanalytically, this series of moments renders how the fantasy of sonorous enclosure can only be heard in retrospect. That is, only after hearing voices split away from one another can we imagine their having once sounded together.
After the above-mentioned splits and before the end, the fantasy of sonorous envelope consists both in the listener’s hearing intertwined and indistinguishable “sounds” and the fact that we know that one is stationary (as if deaf), the other mobile and listening. Listening subjectivity is produced as the listener joins the configuration; he/she is stationary, like the recorded sound, but while the recorder is deaf (it can only speak), the listener is mute (we can only listen). The unison between visitor and the installation at the beginning of each of this piece presents the listener with a fantasy of sonorous oneness; as the visitor and recorder diverge, we hear a clear acoustic mirror as one sound literally echoes another. This initial unison- followed-by-divergence is heard as if from the listener’s position from within the imaginary order with its binary categories of listener, on the one hand, and immediate perception of sound, on the other.
Aural Mirror also explores the sonic possibilities of the timeless continuum; it is intended to steal your sense of time from you, that it slows time, that it achieves a balance or merely a state where sound floats and stands still at the same time, its effect being to drown your own self into a real-time oblivion. The layering tones over each other in increasingly dense structures and require a very high volume level, following in the footsteps of La Monte Young in wishing to envelop the listener in sound so that liminal harmonic relations are experienced from within the sound what Douglas Kahn terms as “listening inside sounds.” What is important about this is that by thus enclosing the listener within sound, the listener is unable (aurally) to leave the auditory space of the piece and thus able fully to experience its most essential dimension, namely time. The installation creates an illusion of the sonorous envelope through very repetitive and metrically regular fragments, on the one hand, and irregular entrances of sustained pitches, on the other.
Ish S (diFfuSed beats)
6 Channel Audio | Sound Sculpture
Sitting still is an installation about the listening and being the heard. It is a sort of sonic heterotopia wherein an experience is created which is a part of both the imagination and reality. This sound sculpture develops spatially and its discovery unfolds itself in the present, bringing with it the experience of sound and listening as a spatial sculpture. Such listening does not pursue the question of meaning, as a collective, but that of interpretation which is individual and heterogeneous to the listener. Sound will narrate, outline and fill but at the same time will be ephemeral. Sound is actually created in the listening of it and in its heterogenous inventions and in the imagination of the listener. The knowing here is the experience of sound as a temporal relationship; not between things but ‘is the thing itself.