Click for Details

Duration: 08’ 31’’
Year: 2007 (music), 2009 (video version), 2010 (sound and light installation version)
Music entirely produced in Csound


This installation is conceived as a study about a possible relationship between sound, light and space.

The core of the work is a looped 4-channels electronic music track, entirely produced using a single impulse (mathematically a Dirac delta, also called “click” or “glitch”) as the only source for the whole piece. The click has been processed exclusively with reverberation and filters in Csound. The Csound opcode used to generate the click is mpulse. The constraint of limiting to the extreme minumum the source material calls the listener for a recognition of the narrowest semiotic spaces, where the slightest distinctive feature is pertinent. Dealing with the opposition between global and local, the musical development extracts, from time to time, from the overall mass, the specific characteristics of each single individual, claiming its right to uniqueness.

 

The click represents all the sonic energy concentrated in an extremely short instant: in other words it is the smallest timeslice of white noise. The concept of “white” is the link that permits to build a theoretical bridge from sound to light: in fact a  relationship of identity is established between white light (sum of all colors) and white noise (sum of all sounds).

Anyway, the work is far from the the traditional dualism of sound and visuals as an artificial combination of two different levels of perception, as found for example in cinema, where the usually frontal screen provides images of objects which are spatially unrelated with the sounds they are producing, since the sound system is not the screen, however sophisticated it might be. The installation “Click for details” tries instead to provide the audience with an experience of sound and light as two aspects of a sole entity, related to the same source, as it is also the case for some natural phenomena connected with electricity and fire such as thunders, sparks and so on.

From a merely technical point of view, the amplitude values of the four audio channels are used to control in real time the brightness of four clusters of three LEDs each. To do so, a Max/MSP patch converts the amplitude of the sound signal to DMX values and sends them to a USB DMX PRO console via Open Light Architecture. Data are then transmitted to a wireless DMX dimmer which feeds the LEDs. The lamps, pointing at the floor and and at the walls, are arranged on the ceiling, and each cluster is situated near one of the four speakers which also are hanging from the ceiling, in order to achieve the unity of sound and light source (two subwoofers are placed on the ground, being position-independent).

The space of a dark room is thus equally divided in four different areas, one for each sound and light source, according to the quadriphonic audio track. People can move through the four areas, coming across different points of view, or they can choose a more peripheral position, experiencing a general overview of the work. During one entire occurrence of the audio loop, lasting 8’30”, a big overall climax is gradually built: in the first part, presenting a sparse texture of short and punctual glitches, the resulting light environment is mostly dark, dotted in time and space by sudden flashes here and there, leaving the people inside the room without a clear cognition of the area around them. Conversely, in the last part of the looped piece, the values entered in the Csound sound engine were meant to trespass the Nyquist frequency (and the maximum amplitude capability), yielding to an unexpected explosion of the sonic matter. Here, the thick layers of noise fill the space of the room and create a mass of sonorous presence in the ears of the audience, yet revealing as a result the architecture of the room and letting the people head, if needed, for an emergency exit.


In this era of media redundancy and of superficiality, Click for details could be like a takeover bid on the essential. The piece is, in fact, constructed in limiting to a minimum the available material: the unique source used is the click, i.e. the pulse. This element, which represents all the potential energy concentrated in a sole instant, reclaims, from the listener, a recognition of the narrowest semiotic spaces, where the slightest distinctive feature is pertinent.

The musical development extracts, from time to time, from the overall mass, the specific characteristics of each single individual, claiming its right to identity. The material finally unbinds itself and explodes in an unpredictable manner, creating a new universe of relationships never seen before.


 

Video version: https://vimeo.com/6978695

 


Presented at:

Inter Arts Center opening, Malmö (Sweden), May 19th, 2010

Tec Art Eco festival, Como (Italy), September 30th – October 2nd, 2010

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