Water Organ (2017)

A kinetic sculpture plays an ambisonic musical composition as inductive forces transform floating resonant vessels into moving speakers.  

 

Participants trigger a random process generating electronic tones into seven copper inductive coils placed under water.  Magnets underneath floating vessels transform upcycled steel "tin" lids into audible speakers, each resonating with a unique timbral character while passing over copper inductive speaker coils.  A seven toned ambisonic composition emerges from the minute vibration of each steel vessel floating above the water.  The audible volume of each vessel varies according to a complex interplay between a vessel's resonant frequency and the frequency of the electromagnetic audio signals being sent through the coils.  Kinetic motion emerges from a semi-chaotic imbalance of inductive and magnetic forces, periodically pushing and pulling magnetic vessels towards and away from the coils as the electrical current reverses direction. 

 

Water Organ behaves as a many-bodied "strange attractor" whose chaotic motion emerges through mutual magnetic repulsion between vessels combined with the changing magnetic polarity of copper inductive coils.  This work offers a calming natural meditative "Koi pond" like behavior, as if the organism's movement were an emergent murmuration of living agents.

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Audible elements of this ambisonic composition can only be partially experienced through a stereo video recording.  It is best to experience the true omni-directional sound of this piece in-person.  

Materials:  recycled steel lids (sometimes glass petri dishes, sometimes acrylic dishes), custom wound copper coil inductors, recycled door stops, magnets, polycarbonate, nylon mesh, vinyl plastic, amplifiers, Teensy microcontroller

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