Tessel is a kinetic sound installation investigating the perception of sound and space.
The installation is constituted of a suspended and articulated topography of 4 x 2 m, subdivided into forty triangles. Twelve of them are fitted with motors and eight are equipped with audio transducers, thus creating a dynamic sonic space, evolving softly, constantly reconfigurated. The shape of the surface is transformed and synchronized with a musical composition, establishing a choreographic dialogue between sculpture and sound, while altering perception. Recalling Tinguely's poetic machines, Alexander Calder's mobiles or Buckminster Fuller's structures, Tessel is a sculpture that involves time and movement to continue the quest for a synesthetic perception of sonic and spatial phenomenons.
The name ‘Tessel’ is derived from ‘tessellation’, a term applied to the geometric subdivision of a surface into plane polygons, also known as ‘tiling’. This technique is also used by 3D softwares to allow the calculation of rendered images. The term has its origin in the Latin word ‘tessella’, describing the square tiles used to make mosaics.
Tessel is based on the ‘pinwheel pattern’, a non-periodic tiling coined by mathematicians Charles Radin and John Conway, which allows the creation of an infinitely complex geometry, only constructed from a single right triangle. Here, the pinwheel is transformed to meet the movement requirements, resulting in a new pattern composed of 4 different triangles, which is then folded and transposed to the third dimension.
This peculiar geometric construction suggests that the work is only a part of a much wider whole, a finite element extracted from an infinite system.
The sound composition and the movements are closely linked together : the speed and acceleration of each motors are used as datas to process and diffuse the sound in real-time.
The geometrical properties of the triangles define the 4 different phases of the composition, while the structure inside each theme follows the dimensions and symmetries of each triangle type.
Tessel is a collaboration between French composer and artist David Letellier, and LAb[au], Belgian electronic arts studio. Tessel is a co-production of the galleries MediaRuimte (Brussels) and Roger Tator (Lyon), realised with the financial support of Arcadi, Dicream and the Commission des Arts Numériques de la Communauté Française de Belgique.