Resonant Spaces - Waterworks

Installation for Metropolitan Waterworks Museum, Boston, MA, presented by Non-Event and the Together Boston Festival on May 18, 2016.

Three snare drums with transducers, each drum driven by a sound file cycling through recordings of its own rim shots; a fourth performed live.

Each placed in different resonant environments throughout the site: the live drum at floor level between the Worthington-Snow and Leavitt-Reidler Engines; a second, at the base of the Leavitt-Reidler Engine, under a gantry one story below floor level; and two on opposite sides of the Allis Engine, at the other end of the hall, three and four stories above floor level.

The sounds of these hybrid electronic and acoustic instruments activate the resonant frequencies of their locations, highlighting the materiality of their staging sites by illuminating acoustic and physical properties of the surrounding metal and concrete.

The staging points of the drums are linked by the consistency of their sound material, and when sounding together saturate the space with an irregular droning texture, as different overtones collide, reinforce, and interfere with one another. Participants stopping to listen to a beacon in one location experience the interaction between nearby and far-away reflections, and carve their own physical and aural path through the space over the duration of the event.

The resultant wall of sound evokes that of the operational waterworks, three steam engines that worked in tandem to pump drinking water from the adjacent Chestnut Hill Reservoir through the entire city of Boston.

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