by Ben Grossman
Presented in Guelph Ontario 11-15th April 2018 as part of Kazoo! Fest
organistrum:prototype is a long-string sound installation that is bowed by rosined, rotating wheels: a principal borrowed from the vielle à roue (hurdy gurdy/Drehleier/zanfoña/ghironda/etc). The piece is notional and is intended to be adaptable to different installation environments. Therefore it will always be a prototype.
In this iteration, six strings of between 20 and 32 metres (about 65-105 feet) in length are activated by rosined wheels under computer control. They are amplified by a resonator made of a large arch of fibreglass. Strings of such lengths behave in many unusual ways and the sound you are hearing is completely acoustic and untreated.
Research and creation of organistrum:prototype was graciously supported by the Ontario Arts Council, and to them I am very grateful. Presentation and promotion was by Ed Video Media Arts Centre and Kazoo! Fest, and my deep gratitude is due to Scott McGovern for his advice, help, and support. Thanks to Alexandra Gelis, Diyode Community Workshop, Alanna Gurr, Chandra Boon, Fron Reilly, and Wolfgang Weichselbaumer for support, advice and encouragement. Thanks to Nicholas Loess of Loess Media for making it look great in this short film. And thanks to my inspirations for this piece, Ellen Fullman, Gordon Monahan, and Alvin Lucier