Playground G is an installation/performance with 2 performers (viola, laptop & mixer) and several prepared objects. The sound of the viola is filtered live through various prepared objects
Visually, the set-up looks like a biotech laboratory full of research materials and a snarl of electricity cables. The performance happens around a long table. Different materials (clay, wood, water, air, paper, metals and ice) are on the table as tangible objects. Each object has been prepared with miniature electronics which are able to transmit and receive/amplify sounds.
The electronics acts as speakers and microphones. They are able to intensify sonic differences of materials. The idea is to create a palette of different sonic textures that relate to the sonic fingerprints of each materials.
The installation investigates resonant frequencies of materials. Because every material has its own frequencies (aka. fundamental resonant frequency) where it begins resonate and modulate. This influences the sound in a peculiar way. For example the clay object will emit/propagate the sound even through the table where it lies on. In contrast the paper object will absorb much more the sound. The resonance in a tube of air is also very peculiar. When a sound reaches the end of the tube, part of it will be reflected back into the tube, and part will be transmitted to the outside air. Standing waves will occur in the tube.
During the performance the public is invited to touch and manipulate the objects. Because of the electronics inside the objects, one hears sounds coming from the objects. But also when the public manipulates the objects, every stroke is amplified into the objects. This instigates an amplification of a peculiar duality. Each material has its own tactile properties, because of this the manipulation will sound each time differently. The eventual performance exists from an interaction of the investigative/playing public, the playing of the viola and a score on the laptop. This whole is mixed live and spatialised 9 surrounding speakers. To launch the performance, a prepared ice cube with electronics of 20 cm3 is plunged into a recipient full of distilled water. The duration of the performance equals the time it is needed for the ice cube to melt into the water.
photos © Ronny Wertelaers