Pendulum Music On A Long Thin Wire

Pendulum Music On A Long Thin Wire, sound installation by Peter Flemming

In December 2012 at Objet Inusité at Eastern Bloc in Montreal, Canada, Peter Flemming presented a sound installation/performance, Pendulum Music On A Long Thin Wire.

The installation includes two machine performers, both with two long arm-like pendulums. A thin piano string, is attached above them. The string is vibrating electromagnetically and the vibration generates sound.

A pick-up is mounted at the end of each pendulum. When the pendulums pass under the wire, the pick-ups capture the sound and make it audible. The pendulums are activated manually and their movements last for several minutes.

As the pendulum stops, the pick-up is placed right under the string, and you hear a more steady monotone sound as it now picks up the sound from the vibration of the string constantly.

Pendulum Music On A Long Thin Wire, sound installation by Peter Flemming

When I first saw the video documentation of the work it made me smile, and it still does. I’m impressed by the way Peter, in a simple and clever way, built the two performers. His choice of material is smart; how he uses of common familiar materials but used in a more unfamiliar way together with electro-mechanics.

This is not a simple piece of work, although it may seem so. The artist just manages to hide its complexity, which I truly appreciate in any artwork. The sound generated by the movements is also fascinating and catches my attention. I’m sure standing beside the installation also add a more physical sense to it and hope I will be able to see this work for real one day.

Peter Flemming was inspired by resonance and also two historic sound artworks; Steve Reich’s work Pendulum Music from 1968 and Alvin Lucier’s Music On A Long Thin Wire from 1977.

A video documentation of the performance is available at Peter Flemmings website.

    Picture rights belong to the artist unless otherwise stated