Resonant waves, Oban

Apr 01, 2015, 08:45 PM

Reimagined by Patrick Ruffner, who writes: "The Oblique Strategy Cards I was assigned were (1)"balance the consistency principle with the inconsistency principle and (2) "use something nearby as a model".

To perform (2), I used a bathroom as an acoustic model to record the resonant frequencies of the waves interacting between the bathroom walls, or room modes. The process I performed is similar to Alvin Luciers "I am sitting in a room" recording, where he repeatedly recorded every recording until his voice was replaced by the resonant frequencies of the space. I set up a speaker in the bathroom entrance and placed a microphone in the bathtub, pointing away from the speaker. I continually re-recorded every recording until the sound completely transforms. Using the bathroom as a model was a way to re-imagine how splashing water on the island of Staffa might sound when reduced to a few simple frequencies.

The recording begins with the original sound file played as a reference. Afterwards, it progresses through each re-recording made inside the bathroom, until the last recording is mainly a few high frequencies (although you can hear a lower frequency, around 170 Hz, which interestingly corresponds to the fundamental ​​​​axial mode between my two bathroom walls.)

To perform (1), the process of re-recording every recording, without moving the microphone in the bath tub, was a consistent process. Nothing was changed except the recording that was played out of the speaker. The change from the original sound-water splashing against rocks- to the last recording of various high frequencies-is a change is timbre. So using a consistent process of recording every new recording produced an inconsistent timbre, sort of a balance between consistency and inconsistency."