Phantom Melodies

Commissioned by Netwerk /centrum voor hedendaagse kunst - Aalst
Production/assistant research: Andries Fluit
Coproduction: Overtoon, Netwerk , Q-O2, KC België
Thanks: Johan Vandermaelen, Mamori Artlab and Francisco Lopez

>> audio recording one (wav)
>> video recording one (mov)
>> video recording two (mov)

photos © (Netwerk)

Phantom Melodies focusses on a central problem in my work, namely how can the complexity, the richness, the stratification of our sonic environment (ie. sonic world) be used/presented/translated to something that can be experienced by a viewer/listener.

Phantom Melodies is an installation with a number of self-constructed rotating speakers, each producing a specific stream of sounds. The speakers are placed in a space where the public can walk about freely. The installation is playing in a constant loop: as a result it is perceived as a constantly shifting soundfield.

This work  is embedded around an ongoing research in dynamic sound diffusion: can sound be detached by its source with movement, psychoacoustics and reflections?

Furthermore, the emphasis in this work is not so much a shared experience (for example a concert), but much more, the individual perception, mainly because sounds will be constantly different depending on the listeners location. The sonic experience modifies in time (cfr. the linear composition). But even more important: it shifts according to the listeners position. This work has the aim to trigger perceptive mechanisms and theirfor challenges different listening modes. The installation will find it’s meaning when the individual chooses to participate and/or if he takes a position.

This work includes a performance. Where the performers play with speed and rotation direction. Actually minimal changes in rotation and direction has alot of impact on the perceived sounds. Tuning the speakers speeds and rotation is a core element of the performance.

The composition in Phantom Melodies is a 6 channel work (5 rotating speakers + 1 subwoofer). Sounds for the installation are a combination of filtered tones and field recordings gathered in the Amazon forest in Brazil. This was done during a 2 weeks sound workshop at the Mamori Lake. All the speakers are individually rotating. Speed and direction is altered in relation to the composition. This is a dynamic work, mostly because of the form (rotation) and content (composition) of the work. It is important to realise that it is more the rotation and directional movements that crafts the composition than inversely a fixed composition is altered because of the dynamic movements.

The self built speakers are (except from it’s heavy base) very light and delicate and are placed on a rotating stand. The speaker element consists two full range tweeters. Every speaker has a (silent) motor with adjustable speed and rotating direction (driven by a computer). The height of the speakers can also vary (more or less on ear height). The subwoofer serves as a static source of sound, an auditive and fixed counterweight to the rotating speakers.