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Prix 1987 - 2007

ORF Oberösterreich

The Electronic Swaying Orchestra
Peter Bosch, Simone Simons

The mechanical component of the installation 'Electric Swaying Orchestra' is rooted in one of the interesting fields between science and art. The parametrically driven pendulum is a well-known subject that has been described and examined by physicists within the framework of order and chaos theories.

Within this project our main target has been the creation of chaos, the unpredictable, unstable balances. We think art should be disquieting, raising questions, whereas science usually tries to answer questions. Historically, the pendulum was used to create order; the six pendulums that make up the orchestra bring chaos. Because the pendulums are parametrically driven they command an exceptionally wide scale of movement. What can start off as a traditional to and fro swing can become an unpredictable and irregular motion leading up to a startlingly vigorous full circumrotation. The pendulums are paired, one of every pair carrying either a microphone or a speaker. Since the behaviour of the pendulums depends on the oscillating frequency of their mechanisms., the use of a van-speed electromotor is essential. The excitement and tension that are created by the contrast between periodic and a-periodic movements are heightened still further by the added dimension of sound: electronic music can be heard from the loudspeakers. This live improvised music is produced by a computer that interprets the sounds received from the three swaying microphones and responds by playing new notes over the three speakers. The main determinants of the musical output are the unpredictable movements of the pendulums and listening and composition rules as executed by this computer. In fact the computer is listening constantly to itself. (Simone Simons/Peter Bosch)