Cadence is an in-progress OAC funded interactive media installation that combines sound, form, and multi-sensory elements that are reactive to viewer participation.
The central component of this work is fifty organ pipes, recovered from a historical building in Hamilton called the Hamilton Christian Fellowship. The organ was designed and built over a century ago by Casavant Frères. Due to renovations, the pipes were taken out and would have been discarded.
With this work, I’m thinking about ideas around the history of these organ pipes, the time it took to build them, their function and social significance. In comparison, their current displacement, fragmentation and what replaced them. As I connect this to the human experience, I think about gentrification in my community and how people are being dispersed from their homes and histories and who will replace them.
As a metaphor for the anatomical, organ pipes like internal organs are part of a complex system with many structures working together to breath. This work will mend and transpose the context of the discarded organ pipes, coming together with anatomical organs to create a new instrument.
The technical construction of this instrument will include an Arduino Mega microcontroller, large balloons to act as an air reservoir (lungs), servo motors to control shut-off valves, an air pressure sensor to detect an empty reservoir, and an air compressor to refill the reservoir. When the sensors detects someone near the work, the microcontroller will predetermine a combination of notes to play for that distance, and will send a signal to the servo motors connected to those pipes. The motors open air valves which allow the pressured air stored in the large balloon reservoirs to release through the pipes producing a bellowing sound.
The audience will never experience the same combinations of notes and sounds as the work is programmed generatively to change over time. The desired effect is that those who participate will ambulate around the installation, moving towards and away from it, echoing the original motion of the bellows required for an organ to sound. The pipes will be exposed and participants are welcome to touch them and feel the reverberation of the sound. The textile organ sculptures surrounding the pipes will house the air reservoirs, swelling as the “lungs” fill up and shrink as the air is used to activate the pipes.
To complete the piece, I am collaborating with Joshua MacDonald from Toronto, ON. We will experiment with the installation of the work to find a unique sonic experience for the audience.
The project will completed by Sept. 2019