The Triquetraflux at the Gegenort
This is my proposal for an installation of three electromagnetic harps in one of the containers at the virtual mine. If approved, the system will be user controllable over the internet and would supply streamed audio produced by the sculpture back over the internet.
When I first saw the Virtual Mine web page, I was struck by both the conceptual and physical similarities between the Gegenort and the piece I am proposing for one of the containers - the Triquetraflux. The Gegenort hub with 10 spokes leading to the 10 exhibition containers, is physically very similar to the Triquetraflux sound sculpture which has a body which is spherical and has 10 strings radiating in a conic segment from a central point (like the shaft of the mine) girding the central sphere. The resonating wires carry information around the sphere, passing vibrational energy to the sphere -- producing sound - a form of information that we can hear.
My proposal for the exhibition of the Triquetraflux would be to mount the three conispheric harps in one container -- two vertically between the floor and the ceiling and one horizontally along the length of the container. These harps would produce sound which could be experienced directly by those at the exhibition space and could be fed from the sculpture and streamed over the internet for any and all to experience. The software that controls the sound sculpture has the capacity to be controlled from an external source-- I believe it should be possible to have a set of 2 dimensional pads (XY faders) made available on the web browser that would allow internet patrons to control the sound sculpture from any location in the world and receive the resulting audio stream back.
This would be a very interesting idea because the Triquetraflux would become a ?sound factory? where the control information from virtual patrons anywhere in the world would alter the life and long form of the sound produced by the sound sculpture (and for patrons physically at the Gegenort) and then is sent back as a refined product in the form of an audio stream to anyone that is logged on to the system.
In it?s most basic form, The Triquetraflux has been conceptualized as an acoustic sound generating sculpture consisting of three conispheric harps. It is constructed to take advantage of laws of physics by setting them against one another thus creating a chaotic feedback system that produces sound. All sound heard from this system is acoustic using balloons as resonators to amplify the vibrational energy of the strings. Important to this piece is the fact that the sound you hear is interpreted and produced in real time. The piece has no history- It exists in the moment and reacts to itself in this instant according to what has just happened an instantaneous moment before. Therein lies its unpredictability and interest as an audio work.
The chaotic processes that produce the sound are in and of themselves highly unpredictable. Left undisturbed, the piece will constantly vary itself as well as reacting to shifting wind patterns in the gallery space and to ambient sound. The range of the changes are set by the feedback pathways within the piece. For each specific setting of these pathways, all potential variances of sound heard from the piece will eventually be explored. The Triquetraflux employs a computer that serves to change the limits of these ranges that the chaotic processes must exist within. The software allows for dynamic control of all feedback pathways within the harp. In this way, the tendencies of the system toward specific sorts of reaction to itself can be manipulated in real time, changing the probabilities and future of its course of sonic evolution. The manipulation of these limits can also be recorded. When a pre-recorded set of limit structures is then re-applied to the harp, the harp must react within the constraint of this reiterative structure. Looping these structures produces multiple iterations of the same macro form, where each iteration is different than the previous ones but where the long scale form of each iteration is fundamentally preserved These controlled limits turn the Triquetraflux into a real-time stochastic composition machine.
Some Thoughts About the Virtual Mine.
During the rapid growth of the industrial revolution, capital became the most cherished resource. The bottomless demand for capital slowly exhausted the possibilities of private borrowing and gave rise to the formation of joint stock companies. Power came from numbers and only countries which had accumulated excess capital prior to the rapid industrial growth could afford to invest in the multitudes of ventures that gave form to the future. With the huge economic growth fed by steel and coal, a need for communication became paramount. Postage stamps were first introduced in Britain in 1840. The introduction of the electric telegraph in 1835, the telephone in 1877 and the wireless in 1896 finally rendered communications instantaneous. These early communications means were developed to make more efficient, the growing industrial economy and to facilitate a burgeoning worldwide trade.
If one looks at the evolution of the human brain, one sees various areas where certain functions are located. Many of these areas developed much later than others The evolution of the basal brain or ?prehistoric brain? located in the medulla oblongata pre dates much of the rest of the brain. It is dedicated to much the same function as early communication developed during and after the industrial revolution: that of proper supply and regulation of movement of the ?resources? through the body (oxygen, nutrients, blood pressure, heating and cooling of the body etc.) Later evolution of the brain saw the growth of the hypothalamus or upper brain, given to reason, the intellect, abstract thought and probably much more. This evolutionary growth of the brain- a large scale linking of neurons - is an ideal simile to the growth of world wide communications. Our communications systems were developed with a need to manage trade and resources and have evolved to our current state with the internet and will continue to evolve toward a future that is as yet unimaginable. This drive- manifested as an irrepressible reaching out to other individuals will ultimately to create some form of global collective ?brain.?
The internet is currently the highest evolution of this process and the recent turn of the century has seen an economic boom boosted by large scale investment in its infrastructure. This older resource based economy is giving birth to a new economy of global intelligence only seen in it?s current inchoate form-- A huge network of global fiber optics just waiting to be lit. As this increased infrastructure is brought into use, we will see the development of specialized areas of function within the internet - much as many areas of the human brain are specialized. It is impossible to predict what form of specialized ?organs? may appear.
Is the concept of the ?Gegenort? an early form of a future global repository of creative discourse? Much as the accumulation of financial capital prior to the industrial revolution was necessary to forge the industrial revolution itself, perhaps in the new information economy, a global node with conduits to all areas of the earth, collecting ideas will result in an accumulated pool of creative and diverse thoughts that could serve to invest in the un- knowable future.
The metaphor of the physical disused Gegenort mine (an historical place of energy production) metamorphosed to a factory of the future economy (dedicated to global imaginary potential) is an exquisite concept... - a specialized organ in the new brain- dedicated to information, knowledge and imagination and many wonderful and unforeseen things. These are early days yet and in such early days one can never tell what will take off and flourish. The new Gegenort may become the model of something of huge importance -of global resonance and as such should be made replete with beautiful thoughts shapes and forms.
Garnet Willis Short Bio:
Garnet Willis is a Canadian composer, sculptor, sound designer and instrument builder. He got his first tape recorder at an early age and has been keenly interested in experimentation, combining electronics and sound ever since. Recently he has been focusing on building and exhibiting sound sculptures. His work ?The Kinetoflux?- a series of four hanging electromagnetic harps is now on permanent exhibition at the Banff Centre for the Arts. He has written many commissioned works and is a regular recipient of grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and has been a resident composer at the Banff Centre for the Arts in 1994, 95, and 1998, 99. In 1996 he won the Bourges International Electroacoustic Competition prize for experimental electroacoustic music for his first electromagnetic harp ? The Clusterflux.? During the summer of 1999 he had two of his sound sculptures exhibited at the Aldeburgh Festival of Contemporary Music and Art in Suffolk England and in 2000, his most recent work, ?Triquetraflux II? was exhibited at the Netherlands Institute of Media Art. He has has many exhibitions in Canada and has also had his works exhibited and performed in the USA, France, Mexico and Colombia. Garnet has an acute interest in composing computer music based on sounds produced by his original acoustic instruments. It was from this juncture that he started building instruments that could both compose forms and generate sounds by themselves. He also teaches audio production and runs a small digital studio, where he records and edits and masters classical and world music as well as composing for film, theatre and dance.
Triquetraflux Technical Requirements
This piece will require that the floor and ceiling as well as both ends of the container have holes drilled into them and be able to hold a fair degree of upward tension (150 kilos). Likewise the ceiling must have a strong enough beams to hold a similar cable tension downwards.
Located close to the exhibition space I will require a small space that can house the amps/mixer/VCA?s and computer ( as well as any computers that may be needed for streaming audio etc. This space must be separate enough so the sound of the cooling fans and hard drive cannot be heard in the main space. Wires will need to be run from this space to and from the Harps.
I will require that a number of items be supplied at your end should you chose to exhibit this piece:
1 macintosh power PC computer (imac is ideal)
1 Midi controlled Mixer with a minimum of 4 i/p channels and 4 auxiliary sends. ( Yamaha 01D, 03D, 02R ideal)
4 channels of amplification 400 watts RMS per channel and capable of driving loads down to 2 ohms.
**More equipment as is needed to send controller streams to the system and to stream audio from the system**
I will provide all the necessary pieces, and equipment to install the physical piece. The complexity of the set up requires that I install the harps and support gear myself, or that it is done under my supervision. If this piece is accepted fro exhibition at the virtual mine, I would be willing to do all the necessary adjustments and work needed to install the piece. I don?t know what is necessary to control the piece via the internet but if your people can send midi data to me in the form of two controller streams, then I can do the rest. I can then send audio back to you for streaming. Once the system is running smoothly, and I have set up a number of control sequences that are appropriate to the exhibition, I will not need to be there until the piece is taken down.
This shows all three harps together. The largest harp (yellow) stands over
3 metres tall so if it
is selected for exhibition in one of the Gegenort containers, it will be
from end to end. The spheres are balloon resonators that acoustically amplify
the sound of the
piece without the use of loudspeakers. The steel structures are the frame of
tensile aircraft cable
and resonated brass that is vibrated in an intense electromagnetic field to