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Hacked Feedback Systems Reveal the Sound of Empty Space

In his three-part project 'The sound of empty space,' sound artist Adam Basanta hacks into the musicality of microphones, speakers, and amplifiers.

To purists, music is music, and noise is noise. But what about when noise is music? In The sound of empty space, sound artist Adam Basanta creates a trio of incomplete systems to conduct an harmonious orchestra of feedback. Basanta’s microphones, amplifiers, and speakers generate frequencies which are reshaped with computer algorithms and tuned through kinetic movements. “By building flawed technological systems and nullifying their intended potential for communication,” the artist explains, “the ear is turned towards the empty space between components.”

In The loudest sound in the room experienced very quietly, Basanta harnesses a room's empty space by enclosing a bone-shaking 120dB public address system amplifier inside a soundproof aquarium. Next to this controlled chaos, Pirouette, “like a life-sized ballerina atop a music box,” emits a “skeletal version” of the main theme from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake through a gracefully rotating microphone. Finally, the artist’s Vessel system captures the natural acoustics of glass jars through a mutable, kinetic feedback monody between a speaker and microphone. Listen to it here:

The sound of empty space from Adam Basanta on Vimeo.

Vessel

Pirouette

The sound of empty space will be on display at Galerie B-312 in Montreal QC until March 21. Find out more about the hacked musicality of feedback on Adam Basanta’s website. Related:

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Motion-Sensing Robot Orchestra Plays Algorthmic Symphonies