Marc Marc


Kunst.raum.schiff H.M. Stubnitz, Hamburg September 1994

A Determinating Sonic Sculpture

the ship

The ship, laying in the harbour of Hamburg - always moving a little. You are moving around in the exhibition hold. A 'thing' is moving around in the hold. It comes to you from different directions at different times. It sounds like being the sea - or is it breath? Is it blowing or is it sucking? Its all around you - its in you. After a while you get the feeling that somebody is watching you - somebody is in you. You are loosing control over your own rate: your walk - your breathing - your heart beat. You entered yourself - walking around in your own sculpture!

in the ship

schematic Technical data:
The installation is build is from 16 loudspeakers, a 16x80W amplifiers unit, noise generator, 32 VCA unit and controller, 2 computers, 2 stereo equalizers, 2 photo flash lights and 350 meter wiring and controlling software. All together this allows one or more sound sources to be freely moved in any speed over the 16 speakers by software control. For an optimum environment, the software to control the Sonic Sculpture always is rewritten at the performing location, based on a concept that is inspired by this location.

. . . . . How does it work?
controlling area Amplifiers
It is clear that, when moving sound over 16 speakers, each speaker needs its own individual amplifier. These amplifiers are all build in a single case, which is very small and completely build from heat sinking material. Inside there are 8 stereo hybrid amplifiers. The power supply is build in another case and although small sized very heavy in both weight and power capacity (70 amps). The most difficult was to design the amplifiers in such a way that they did not produce hum. Difficult because they all are grounded into the same case and share the same power supply.

However the speakers look very nice and are designed to also operate outside in rainy weather, their bandwidth is small and thus limited in their acoustic use.

   A view at the controlling area

Sound controller
Each amplifier has 2 inputs (together 16x2=32). with a multi wire these 32 inputs are connected with the VCA controlling unit. This unit has 32 Voltage Controlled Amplifiers. The VCA's are connected to 32 Digital to Analog converters. These converters receive information from the computer and translate it to analog voltages to control the VCA's and thus control the volume of each double amplifier input. The computer runs software that, based on a certain concept, manipulates the volume values for each channel.
The VCA unit also has 32 audio inputs that can be grouped in any set up (1x32, 2x16, 1x16 / 2x8, 4x8 etc) - depending on how may sources need to independently 'move' over the speaker system.
Since April 1995 the installation is supplemented with 8 dynamic computer controllable filters and 16 extra 'volumizers'. This makes it possible to also change the colour of the sound dynamical while its moving.

Moving a sound in space provides that the speakers are located in a certain raster and that the volume manipulation is adequate to simulate the moving effect. With a software program these manipulations can be done effectively. The experience of standing in a room with this 3-dimensional sound goes far beyond literal understanding.

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