Kroumatograph No. 1

Kroumatograph No. 1 (2016) is a cross-sensory installation with sound, light, somatosensation, and olfaction.


Kroumatograph investigates a new spatiotemporal approach to musical composition that explores the structuring of musical form across the senses of sound, touch, kinesthesia/movement, vision, and olfaction. The work is primarily shaped by an acoustic sculptural component, one comprised of standing waves tailored to the dimensions of its expositional space. As there is a small degree of latitude with respect to the exact frequency value that will generate each standing wave, one can use a number of very close frequencies within this range to produce each harmonic. Thus, each standing wave harmonic in the space can serve as a carrier of three beating frequencies, making for a spatial map of differing low bass pitches and of varying polyrhythms as one walks around the room. Those who enter the space are given performance instructions off a score sitting on a music stand, “Enter, hum a low note, walk around, exit, stop humming (if you wish).” Visitors thus become active musical interpreters in this environment as they compose their own musical experience exploring the space. The humming creates an interoceptive, tactile reading of the space as the low frequencies resonate the chest cavity and the beating modulates the amplitude of the sung frequencies. A quiet musical track of granulated, changing harmonies further feeds into the space and seeds this amplitude modulatory effect, also helping to provide a musical backbone against which multiple visitors can harmonize.


Over this sonic and tactile grid, a contrapuntal olfactive and thermal grid is superimposed, exploring both perceptual cross-modal influences and emotional ones, looking at how certain sensory cues might frame one’s reception of powerful sensory stimuli such as high magnitude low bass frequencies. Three tripods (in reference to both Apollo’s oracle at Delphi and the original three-branched caduceus of Hermes), along with a snake-like staff, all made with driftwood, carry the various scents. Fennel by the door has both aesthetic and functional intentions. As it is an antiemetic herb, its smell may cue established associations with it, to help attenuate any ill symptoms of those more sensitive to low bass frequencies. A current of warm bergamot recalls Earl Grey and thus situationally established memory cues connected to sipping tea, hopefully in a relaxed context. A current of cool rose and a small ring of cardamom temper the composition with olfactory consonance and dissonance, respectively. Red light sculptures of varying fabrics are stretched from the ceiling in such a way as to evoke visceral tissue, in an attempt to further cue the mind to focus on the rapport between the installation and one’s own body. The objectives of this piece are 1) to create an inviting space where one can engage with the unique effects of low bass frequencies with space and the body and 2) to create a social bonding experience through musical composition as visitors use movement, navigation, and their voices to create a musical experience for themselves initially but eventually with others in the space as well, as they grow bolder.




2016: Santa Barbara Center for Art, Science, and Technology inaugural event, the Santa Barbara March 1st Thursday event, and the “Dance Anywhere” event in collaboration with the Santa Barbara Centre for Aerial Dance for their “Floor to Air Festival.” Studio A, SBCAST (Santa Barbara, CA).

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