Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Spinning Flower Beds

Work has already begun with the five rotating flower beds and here are the motor housing units. They are going to sit under circular boards which are covered in flowers and cause them to spin slowly. Trippy.

Our task is to use them for sound generation and here is what I am thinking for now...

So there will be 5’ diameter boards placed on top of these motor housings, about 12" high and lots of room underneath. Small enough that they won’t need skirting around the perimeter hanging down (but could have...).

My idea is to have at least one rod firmly attached to the edge or the underside of each plinth that could act as a striker when it goes around. I’d work with the students to design simple gear mechanisms that would trip and activate an instrument. For instance, a stone lithophone slab placed outside (or beneath) the edge might be the resonant tone. When the peg approaches it slowly raises a mallet on a pivot that then falls and drops onto the stone (and returns to the original position for it to happen all over again).

This would give the effect of 5 giant clock mechanisms going out of phase but spreading similar sounds across the whole space.

We’d need to make sure the trip mechanism didn’t offer so much resistance as to put too much strain on the motor. At least the pegs could just tickle a suspended (bamboo?) chime that then rattles back into position.

A more elaborate version could make full use of the space underneath by having several pegs across the bottom surface at different radii and stroking tines (rulers on the edge of a desk principal), like a giant music box. Again we’d need to ensure that the smooth rotation of the flower circle is not impeded or made wobbly.

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