"dreaming Smetak" is a sound installation for 36 microtonal, aeolian, acoustic guitars based on the original idea and concepts of the composer Walter Smetak (1913-1984). It was a commission of the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program for the mikromusik - festival for experimental music and sound art. It took place in the attic of the Sophienkirche in Berlin and was opened for visitation between the 27th and 30th of August 2015.
For this version of it, 18 acoustic guitars were used as active sound sources while other 12 served as loudspeakers – mounted with small transducers –, and the remaining 6 were simply placed as visual objects in contrast to the ironmongery structure of the attic ceiling of the church. The first group of guitars were equipped with contact microphones attached to specially designed preamplifiers. Their sound actor was only and solely the wind. Three different sources of wind were exploited, thus determining the stations that comprised the whole for this particular realization of the concept.
The first situation, the foyer, consisted of 6 acoustic guitars being constantly played by the resulting air flow of 4 rotating tower fans. Those sounds were amplified and could be heard in the very entrance of the attic “accompanied” by a drone obbligato of a very noisy cooler from an antenna system located in that same spot.
The second one, the airshafts, consisted of 2 natural ventilation shafts connecting the church nave underneath with the attic above. In each vent shaft there were 3 acoustic guitars prepared to be played by the air circulation between those rooms. Besides, for every sound source there were two corresponding guitar-loudspeakers amplifying its signal nearby. Altogether, in both shafts there were 18 acoustic guitars involved: 6 active instruments plus 12 others assembled with exciter speakers.
The third station, the church tower, consisted of 6 acoustic guitars installed in different places and heights of the tower. 4 instruments were placed at the end of two huge windows and the other 2 were mounted outside the building up high. The public wasn’t allowed to visit the guitars on the upper floors, but their sounds were transmitted through very long cables down to the center of the attic, precisely between the two ventilation shafts, and there the signals were amplified by 6 small loudspeakers hanging on the ceiling.
*The audio of this video-clip is strictly the original of the camera only until 2'36''. From this point on, there are 2 extra sound layers recorded in other days and times of this same installation.
Link for photos: flic.kr/s/aHskmEwJRB
Link for audios: soundcloud.com/gustavo-alfaix/sets/dreaming-smetak-2015