18

release date: 04 may 2021
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Artists make their work from anything available. One of the things I use is sound. This weeks program is a new suite of sonic constructs built from recordings of a few of my sonic-kinetic installations and objects.

In 2015 I built ‘the 21-pendulum entropophone’, an instrument comprising a kinetic-acoustic array of discarded aluminium drink cans collected from Sydney streets, then worked to turn each into a kind of bell.

The altered tins were suspended in series along seven long dowels, spaced to knock together when the dowels moved. Each dowel had three concrete weights attached, forming a long pendulum at each end and a short one in the middle.

Each tin’s paper-thin aluminium membrane produced a low amplitude sound but with a clean tone. Using various sizes and cutting to varying lengths created diverse random microtones.

Activated by visitors’ gentle touches, the instrument produced atonal clattering cascades, rhythmic pulses and ephemeral melodic sequences that gradually decayed to the silence of equilibrium. Thus the name – entropophone.

It is an instrument anyone can play, but the sounds it makes at any given moment are never repeatable.

Heard from nearby, the sounds are like distant moored boats or wandering farm animals. But if the listener brings their ears very close to the hanging tins, the sound is suddenly experienced as surprisingly rich and resonant.

The exhibition also included my 3-pendulum harmonograph, a mechanical drawing machine that translates the slowly expended energy of pendulums into detailed geometric drawings.

I made various audio recordings of both works and have used excerpts to prepare a sequence of new sonic sketches for this program.

The episode concludes with a work-in-progress version of a score for voices.
In 2019 I was co-curator and showed works in an exhibition that ended with a performance salon on November 30 – International Remembrance Day for Lost Species.

For the event, I wrote a cross-species score for voices of humans and forest pigeons, with birdcalls and words derived from an online biologists’ field recording archive.

To create an aid for rehearsals with the six-person performance ensemble Reject Theatre Troupe, I used text-to-voice software to develop the composition. This is what is presented here. The work is titled ‘Skins in the Museum’.