Decent Extremist

Site specific installation   February , 2010                       

This site specific piece, -result of a six month collaboration with Christian Thompson -, was exhibited during the Biennial of Australian Art of 2010 in Adelaide for the exhibition Before and after science at the Art Gallery of South Australia.

Christian Thompson developed the concept of creating a physical  inmersive feeling using recordings of the words Muna (in english, “Bee”) and Nguwal (in english, “swarm”) in his mother tongue language, Bidjara. This would later be reproduced at the entrance staircase of the gallery using directional speakers.

After recording voice samples from Thompson I composed a soundscape to reflect the behaviour of a population of bees and a swarm during their displacement from one place to another in search for a place richer to reproduce and survive.

Inspired by the work of  T.D. Seeley I composed a 47 minutes piece that is, in reality, two pieces in one. Each of the loudspeakers represent one word; one speaker is the Bee (Muna) and the other one is the Swarm (Nguwal). Both loudspeakers are related to each other by representing the behavior and evolution of the displacement of the colony. This displacement attempts to obey the behaviour of the bee hive hierarchy (from Queen bee, male drones and female drones) represented by sounds “orchestrated” according to the different roles of the colony members during the displacement.

The displacement of sounds accross the speakeds is determined by a swarm behaviour model implemented in SC3 (supercollider). This bidimensional model is based on the algorithm formulated by Craig Reynolds and it has been used to represent the general behavior of the bee swarm. Within this installation it aids in reproducing the feeling of “immersive” sound (with the limitations of using just two directional speakers). To this goal the acoustic characteristics of the speakers within the dimensions and properties of the staircase at the AGSA were also considered.

Due to the fact that this is a piece created for this specific environment it should be slightly adapted if it wants to be reproduced on a regular stereo system ( either headphones or speakers ). For demonstration purposes, however, beneath is presented an audio compressed version to give the web visitor an idea of the result. 

Composition excerpt of “Decent Extremist” Compressed audio

Technical specifications of the H450 loudspeakers

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