inversive pendulum (3D Audio Installation)
The Inversiv Pendulum
Reich explains the musical processes as the following:
“2, 3, 4 or more microphones are suspended from the ceiling by their cables so that they all hang the same distance from the floor and are all free to swing with a pendular motion. Each microphone’s cable is plugged into an amplifier which is connected to a speaker. Each microphone hangs a few inches directly above or next to its speaker.
The performance begins with performers taking each mike, pulling it back like a swing, and then in unison releasing all of them together. Performers then carefully turn up each amplifier just to the point where feedback occurs when a mike swings directly over or next to its speakers. Thus, a series of feedback pulses are heard which will either be all in unison or not, depending on the gradually changing phase relations of the different mike pendulums.
Performers then sit down to watch and listen to the process along with the audience.
The piece is ended some time after all mikes have come to rest and are feeding back a continuous tone by performers pulling out the power cords of the amplifiers.”
Reich, Pendulum Music, in: Writings on Music – 1965-2000, ed. Paul Hillier (Oxford University Press 2002), p. 32, 1968
The original piece demonstrates Reich’s thesis in “Music as a Gradual Process,” and he has mentioned Pendulum Music as “the ultimate process piece.” When the performers release the microphones all together, the pendulums are set into motion and produce the feedback pulses, illustrating Reich’s thesis “Music as a Gradual Process”, once the process is set up and loaded it runs by itself as an “ultimate process piece”. People are forced to step back, only listen and look at it as a sound sculpture.
This variation digitizes the installation and takes it a step further by extending it into the 3rd Dimension, allowing the recipient to be in a place of reception where it’s normally not possible to be. A separate cube with speakers creates a “sound only” copy of the piece, and gives the option to walk through the different layers of feedbacks. It’s almost like being one of the Microphones. All microphone movements are measured by Wii controllers and a 3D Audio engine translates this data to a customized speaker setup.
It is the aim to turn the “process only” habit of Steve Reichs’ work to a new level without changing the original method of creating the sound. Playing with the superficial aspects, the recipient has not only the option to focus on the simple one dimensional disclosure of an idea, but can therefore also experience an innovative way of hearing sounds in a different setting.