Jutta Ravenna: Rotation & Vox Humana

16 Aug 2014 - 18:00
Leslie Speaker

Rotation - sound installation for 7 and 9 leslie speakers distributed in a space

ausland is prepared using multiple rotating loudspeakers (Leslie speakers), placed on the floor, on tables, on the walls and on the ceiling. The listener himself is the agent of sonic variation. Walking through the space, sitting, lying, standing straight or in crooked posture, also all kinds of different head and body movements will foster a diversity of sonic nuances. This highly unusual listening situation is provoked by the disposition of the sound sources on the ceiling, on tables or on the floor. Sound signals originating from different directions are altered by way of electroacoustical processing. Doppler effects caused by the rotation of the sound sources cause acoustical beats. Moving away from the listener by way of rotating its source a sound will lower its perceived pitch. At the same time the sound source draws closer to the opposing wall which thereby will receive a higher pitched sound and at the same time reflect this sound in the listener’s direction. This is happening all the time in all spacial directions.

A variation of this concept (“7 Leslies”) will employ nine Leslie speakers in various groupings, two, three, four, up to nine at a time, different combinations producing different sound mixes. The pure sound of the rotating resonance bodies is beautiful in itself, confronting electromechanical (leslie speakers) and digital techniques (digital sound processing) as a work of art and at the same time demonstrating a piece of technology history. Four additional variations come up: rotating with sound, rotationg without sound, halting with sound and halting without sound. Controlling rotation velocity adds yet more sonic variabilty. So the application of rotating loudspeakers effectively generates a very complex soundscape for the moving listener.

The Leslie speaker is named after its inventor, Donald Leslie (1911-2004). Originally developed as sound effect add-on for the Hammond organ it was widely used in 1960’s pop music productions.

Vox Humana - amplified solo voice from a speaker covered with soil

In this sound installation a speaker is lowered into an approx. 1.5 meter deep hole being successivly covered with more and more soil. The speaker is playing the sound of a human voice screaming. The voice sounds consequetivly more suffocated as more soil is piled on top of the speaker. Without narration this installation is about the slow motion transformation of a repetetive sound - the human voice - which dives down into the subterrean world of shadows. Beyond the earthly endeavors the voice touches Earth's interior and tells through this material the story of the transformation of the Conditio Humana on this planet.