Alvin Lucier: Empty Vessels

Empty Vessels
Sound installation, Atelier Nord ANX
Opening 4th September 2013 at 7 pm. Exhibition period: 5th – 29th September. Open daily from 13 – 18 from 5th – 14th September and
Thursday to Sunday from 12 – 17 from 15th – 29th September. 

Empty Vessels (1997) belongs to a series of works in which Alvin Lucier studies the resonance characteristics of the smallest interior spaces. He has placed eight glass water containers and vases on pedestals along the space’s south wall. Microphones are placed in the openings of the empty vessels, and each is rooted through limiters to speakers. The eight loudspeakers are positioned exactly opposite, along the space’s north wall. The amplifier in each microphone-loudspeaker system is selected in such a way that each strand of feedback is marked by the resonant characteristics of the respective vessel. This creates a controlled feedback field of resonant tones and their interferences in the ANX gallery space. When entering the field, the visitor disrupts the delicate balance of the system, creating new feedbacks with unexpected frequencies. Even a small head movement is enough to hear a multifaceted, fluctuating spectrum of pitches.

Alvin Lucier (b. 1931, USA) is a central figure within sound art. He is a composer and sound artist that explores acoustic phenomena and auditive perception. As Professor of music at Wesleya University Lucier was a member of the influential Sonic Arts Union. Much of his work is influenced by science and explores the physical properties of sound itself: for example resonance in space and the transfer of sound through physical media. Lucier has been a central figure in the development of electronic music through his exploration of the acoustic and psychoacoustic properties of sound through his membership in the avant-garde group Sonic Arts Union.

Technical realization: Nicolas Collins and Curator: Carsten Seiffarth.