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Credit: Cynthia Zaven

Cynthia Zaven (LB)

Perpetuum Mobile is a composition for a twelve-channel sound installation. Twelve loudspeakers stand in a circle. Every second a note moves from one speaker to the next, clockwise. This seemingly organized sonic development gradually becomes chaotic as the composition falls into rhythmic disorder and disorientation, before returning to the one-note order.

Perpetuum Mobile recreates the impression of a real-time echo within a controlled environment; a traveling sound that loses the consistency of its original source, and transforms over space and time. By focusing on this phenomenon, the installation examines endeavors to measure time and contrasts the rigid order in such systems by counterpointing them with the disorder and unpredictability of experience. The apparent structure represented by time-measuring devices is falsified and challenged by introducing the effects of the very chaos they attempt to organize and codify.


This installation was exhibited at the Bacchus Temple, Baalbeck in 2016 supported by Studiocur/art and the Baalbeck International Festival.

Originally commissioned for This is the Time. This is the Record of the Time curated by Angela Harutyunyan and Nat Muller. Tijs Ham, sound engineer.

Part of Global Collaborations, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam and the American University of Beirut Art Galleries and Collections

Funded/supported by: AFAC, STEIM, Amodo, Mondriaan Fund

With acknowledgment to: Tijs Ham, Cherine Karam, Kesper Kovitz