Sound Sculpture Installation for the Lab
I propose to build a life-size airplane in the Lab, loosely in the form of an old-style airliner.
The sculpture will be made
from bamboo. It will be approximately 26 ft. long with a 30 ft. wingspan. The
bamboo struts will be held in place by plywood forms. It will be hung at a dramatic
angle, with one wing tip three feet from the floor, the other well out of a
visitor's reach. As visitors move around the "Airliner", lights will
flash, propellers will spin, and the craft will generate a variety of loud sounds.
The airplane will have seven
motion sensors, seven colored lights, seven sound-generating elements using
electric motors and seven contact microphones.
Each motion sensor will
control one of the sound-generating elements and one of the colored lights.
Two motion sensors will be mounted on each wing, two on the tail, and one on
the nose. As viewers/listeners move around the aircraft, they will trip the
motion sensors and trigger a light and a sound element. If no one is present,
or no one is moving, the aircraft will become dark and fall silent within a
few seconds. If many people are present, the aircraft will be loud and bright.
The sounds produced by each
element will be modulated by a mixing board, then amplified, and broadcast from
four speakers; one in each corner of the room. The sounds will be a variety
of mechanically produced sounds, for example: spinning propellers striking different
materials and different lengths of string. The sound should be fairly loud for
the piece to be effective, but the levels can be easily controlled for special
The piece will be hung from
the ceiling and overhead members by many cables. While quite large, the piece
will not be very heavy, and there will be no danger of it falling if it is well
Installation may take as
long as two weeks. Most elements will be prefabricated in my studio, but they
will need to be assembled and fine-tuned at the
The previous similar pieces I have shown have been very successful. They have proved to be durable and work well on the technical level. They have been popular with the audience, sparking many comments and conversations, and, for the most part, have been big fun for everyone involved.