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Requiem Between a Barrel and a Heart

Pedram Baldari and Marco Buongiorno Nardelli



The installation combines the evocative power of the sound of the gun barrel wind instruments within a complex performance framework: it comprises of a multichannel audio system generated and controlled by a Python score running on a Raspberry Pi, four active speakers for the performance of the wind instruments background, four FM radio transmitter and 12 battery-powered transistor radios for the broadcast of the voices and other instrumental interludes.

The radios are suspended utilizing waxed yarn and from the ceiling which allows the suspension of 200g of weight. Three strings in a triangular manner meet at the center of an upside-down pyramid which continues as a single string to suspend a radio from its antenna. The radio is weighted down by a 50-caliber Bullet Projectile which is connected to the radio utilizing the same yarn and eye hook implanted inside the projectile. These projectiles work as plumb bobs keeping the piece at a perpendicular angle to the floor.

This installation will allow ear level/eye level interaction with the sound sources of the radios, and it will generate a sense of intimacy and intensity due to how they are suspended and how they meet the floor of the exhibition space. This will allow the work to be more cohesive in both the visual form and the auditory content throughout the installation space and time.

The same audio material is simultaneously broadcasted as a radio work: in this, the choice of the radio transmission is both a medium and a metaphor, envisioning a flexible yet resistant and mobile engagement that extends well beyond the walls of the performance hall or broadcasting studio.
Moreover, the installation, and thus the broadcast, is additive, in that visitors to the installation will be invited to contribute to the performance by adding their voices to the mix: by following the QR code below on their mobile phones, participants are directed to a webpage where they will find both text (a count out of an ever-increasing series of numbers) and the performance directions (in simple, non-musical terms). They will then be asked to record their interpretation using any of their audio recorders on their phones and send it to a specific email address. To avoid “contamination” from spurious or faulty recordings, the files will be curated before being added to the general pool. These contributions will be played through the radios and will complement the performance broadcasted through the active speakers, creating a multi-layered, immersive, and ever-changing sound environment that develops as an experiment in cooperative, complexity-motivated musical creation.

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