headphone sound with suspended paper sculpture
. audio length: 4:44
. spatial dimensions: 5’ x 3’ x 6
is round, but when we hear it, it seems to have only two dimensions:
pitch and duration. The third dimension, depth, is there, but somehow…it
escapes us. The upper and lower (less audible) harmonics sometimes give
us the impression of a vaster more complex sound beyond duration and
pitch, but it is difficult for us to perceive its complexity…In
painting, there is of course perspective…[but] despite all the
experiments with stereophony and so forth…we have not yet succeeded
in creating an impression of sound’s real spherical dimension.
~Giacinto Scelsi (1905-88), Composer
A musical generation later, Trevor Wishart argues timbre is best understood
topologically, in other words, sound quality (as opposed to pitch and
harmony) is multidimensional and continually in flux.
Instead of attempting to create a spatial piece of music that attempts
to locate sound objects in a 3D matrix (i.e. cinema’s surround
sound, architectural acoustic’s ambisonics, electro-acoustic’s
octophonics, etc.), 19566591.71717^2 attempts to explore spatialization
by structuring time as a möbius loop. In this respect, time generates
an accidental space dependant on timbral bridges.
For möbius19566591.71717^2, I have rearranged Morton Feldman’s
composition Piano 1956A (played by David Tudor) for headphone
listening using the structure of a möbius loop to reconfigure the
temporal structure and thus the resulting spatial experience. The listener
experiences this piece by first seeing a large paper sculpture delicately
suspended from the ceiling. The paper sculpture is a möbius loop
with the soundfile timeline printed on both sides. This structure is
the graphic score for the new sound piece. A pair of wireless headphones
are presented to the listener who is invited to step under the paper
perimeter and listen to the audio that has been visualized on the surrounding
structure. As the audio plays, the listener can rotate and see the twisted
timeline that encircles her.