Uptown Reverberation

Uptown Reverberation

Uptown Reverberation is a site-specific installation which combines electronically processed sound with objects played as automatic percussive instruments. The piece was created for the Sage Building in Pittsburgh, a structure in the Uptown area which had been slated to be destroyed by the city as part of Civic Arena redevelopment. This municipal taking echos the historic destruction of the lower Hill District in the late 1950s. The musical score is a personal response to seeing the living space of friends taken away. It was performed in part on the building itself using a pneumatic system to electronically pulse puffs of air through the plumbing and found objects reclaimed from the basement. The percussive sounds are miked, improvisationally reprocessed, and amplified as an electronic echo. The visual elements address the question of a building which is still intact but which has inexorably begun its premature journey to rubble.

The performance took place November 4, 2006 as part of the “In Lieu of Condemnation” event at 1029 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh.

Device Chain

Device Chain

Device Chain is a sculptural musical instrument and performance centered on a continuous paper loop which is both the source and the record of musical information. During performance, Ian Brill draws on the paper with ink pens as it feeds slowly through the machine. As the paper progresses, the ink pattern is diffused and modified by computer-controlled isopropanol mists. As the paper cycles through the rollers, a video camera images the ink pattern and generates signals in real-time to control the audio synthesis engine and the mist jet rhythm generator. In addition to the synthesized sound, the intrinsic sounds of the machine are processed and amplified to utilize the percussive rhythms of valves, air, water, and pen strokes. The paper loop cycles through the machine several times during the performance, with new patterns layering upon the old both visually and acoustically.

Device Chain was performed at the “Cross Currents 2” event on March 31, 2007 at Penn State University.

Synaestopic DC

Synaestopic DC

During Synaestopic DC, words solicited from visitors are transformed into an auditory and typographic performance in real time. The artists talk to the viewers and invite them to suggest a word in response to their experience. Once a word has been named, it enters a series of transformations: it is considered, re-interpreted, performed as a spoken word or phrase, recorded as audio, re-processed, and continuously re-mixed into the audio stream together with previous words and sounds. The word is also animated on a large wall projection using a process which continuously morphs the text through a set of related meanings. The incremental text rewriting results in a steady stream of intermediate nonsense words punctuated by synonyms of the original word.

The physical installation comprises a table at which the artists sit with their computer equipment, a large wall projection, and speakers placed far out into the room to fill the space with sound. Synaestopic DC was performed November 2, 2007, in the second floor gallery of The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, PA.

Colorful Code Conveyor

Colorful Code Conveyor

Colorful Code Conveyor is a performance in which children are invited to make paper cutouts which are collaged into a visual composition that controls the music. The cutouts are taped to a large canvas loop which is slowly pulled by the motorized mechanism past a camera, making one complete cycle about every eight minutes. The slowly evolving image on the canvas is processed by software in real time to modulate the audio processing. The visual re-mix of paper elements maps to an acoustic re-mix of the musical score. The images slices from the camera are also continuously reassembled into a scrolling image which is projected on a screen along with a colorful plot of the modulation signals. The projected image shows the paper as seen by the computer with the amusing distortions created by paper jams and the imperfections of the mechanism.

The piece was performed January 26, 2008 for two hours in the Studio area of the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh.