Artwork - 2011

Tones – Sound Installation

My friend and collaborator Sudhu Tewari reverse engineered a commercial version of an electronic bow (Ebow) for a commission in 2010. He and I bought parts in bulk and spent a few days prototyping these instruments in his basement. Several months later I decided to recycle the idea for my MFA installation. I refined the design and built 9 more, each including a different sized bass or guitar string that were tuned to vibrate at different harmonics.

These instruments are the second generation of the work we have done with vibrating strings and are comprised entirely from hand-fabricated parts (except the tuning machines). The whole project took about two months to complete.

The boards I used for these are reclaimed (actual) 2x4s that were salvaged from some local architectural renovation. They are old growth, douglas fir with very small and numerous rings of growth. I counted over 100 in several of them. I really enjoy knowing that the sounds being emitted from these strings are passing through the layers of the wood which, of course, represent the number of years the tree was alive. This adds layers of meaning to the sound that is resonating through, and being amplified by, the boards.

Turn your speakers up to really hear the different vibrations.

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Population Flow

Population Flow is an interactive, sculptural installation that expresses the growth of our population in two layers of sound. A conical vessel drops grains of salt over a contact microphone expressing the number of births in a day. A blower pushes air over a set of reeds expressing the number of deaths in proportion to births. Both of these are manipulated by viewers via a control box.

Fopulation Flow from Benjamin Carpenter on Vimeo.

All the grads in the program at S.F.S.U. give a brief public talk about their work.
here is mine:

MFA Thesis Talk 2011 from Benjamin Carpenter on Vimeo.

Our Population is a huge number. For this piece I needed to find a material that was very small and easily counted to represent the number of births in a give day. I used table salt because of its relative uniformity of grain size. Here is a video of the flow tests I did to calculate the time it would take for the salt to pour out of the vessel.

Flow Rate Test – Table Salt from Benjamin Carpenter on Vimeo.

Here is a video showing some of the process of building the conical vessel that holds & drops the salt (births).

Cone Forming from Benjamin Carpenter on Vimeo.

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