closer then farther away

closer then farther away | Kinetic sound sculpture. 2015 | 2 Lavalier microphones, speaker cone, 3D printed stands, 2 stepper motors, electronics, custom software, acrylic.

Amplification bridges physical distance (from my phone, to a satellite, to your phone), while simultaneously reminding us of its limitations as a substitute for face-to-face contact.

In Closer then farther away, 2 small microphones move, each in its turn, towards and away from a single speaker cone. The signal from each microphone is routed to the output of the speaker through custom software; as a microphone gets closer to the speaker and begins to “hear itself” being amplified, a feedback tone is generated.

Using custom software to tune the resulting feedback, the movement of each microphone generates a glacially-paced feedback melody of two iconic songs about longing and closeness: Carol King’s 1971 ballad “So far away” and Janet Jackson’s 1997 dance track “Together again”.

As the microphones take turns approaching closer and farther away from the speaker, the two melodies are intertwined into a single melodic line, at times consonant while at others increasingly atonal. Physical distance is amplified both literally and metaphorically.

by adam basanta