Torso is a kinetic sound – light sculpture. It explores variations on accelerating and decelerating sound sources. In it’s live context, this rotating instrument challenges our ways of listening and perceiving sounds as well as the space they are emitted into.
Composed and created by Peter Kutin in 2018 – development ongoing.
A new/expanded version of TORSO will be created as a commissioned work for the SAT FULLDOME in Montreal, which will be premiered in 2020.
Speed ostensibly perverts the illusory order of normal perception, the order of arrival of information. What could have seemed simultaneous is diversified and decomposes.
(Paul Virilio – The Aesthetics of Disappearance)
Four 100V speakers rotate on a 2.5m long horizontal axis. The structure resembles the klopotec – a type of bird-scaring windmill found in central Europe – from which Kutin drew inspiration. By amplifying these rotating speakers, the emitted sonic signals and feedback travel within the space in an unfamiliar, yet strange and multidimensional manner.
The sounds have been designed specifically for this unique system to maximise its psychoacoustic effects. Kutin therefore composes with feedback-patterns as well as abstractions of the human voice – working with a soprano singer – a reference to the human-made environment behind the technical facade. Static microphones simultaneously transmit the sculpture’s movement via a much larger quadraphonic PA system setup to surround the audience. The sonic movements can be perceived both horizontally and vertically at once, creating a wholly unorthodox listening experience. Rotation speed, acceleration, deceleration and amount of feedback are the key parameters for this instrument, immediately structuring the space and seducing the listener. Bizarre movements of sonic fractals, feedback-patterns, and noise bursts provoke otoacoustic emissions and other auditory illusions emanating from within the ear of the listener itself.
Flanked by flickering and pulsating lights, TORSO reaches lucid and hallucinatory heights. Visitors have described the concert experience as like exposure to an “expanded Dreamachine” – referring to the influential stroboscopic flicker device first developed by artist Brion Gysin. Kutin takes this concept to a different level as he explores how rotating soundsources can influence and manipulate our way of listening and how they excite the acoustics of the performance space.
Kutin’s interest to explore this field finds inspiration in the writings of the philosopher Paul Virilio and his concept of dromology – the science of speed.
All footage taken from Toros’s premiere in October 2018 at Unsafe+Sounds Festival
– Mathias Lenz for techincal support and further help
– Johanna Sophia Baader for the soprano voice
– Tristan Bath for the words of this text
– Oskar Kutin and Gratis Kaiserin for helping out with tools and skills
– SKE Fonds for some financial support
The material was filmed by Johannes Gierlinger and Peter Kutin.
Photographs / Images © David Višnjić and Igor Ripak.
Video by Peter Kutin
Sound Recorded by Peter Kutin at unsafe & sounds Festival, Norbahnhalle – Vienna on the 2nd of October 2018.