Purity! Contagion! Acrylic Glass! Purity! Contagion! Acrylic Glass!

Posted by tkemp on 2006.09.23 @ 22:25

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It’s been about three weeks since we heard that we will be going to Boston to do a performance and installation at PURE.

Our proposal included an acrylic glass plinko machine (a la The Price is Right) and three hanging fabric cocoons. There will be a performer in each cocoon and a fourth performer dropping ping pong balls into the plinko machine. As the balls come out the three holes in the bottom of the machine, they will trigger the performers to change an ongoing soundscape in some way. Eventually, the person dropping the ping pong balls will replace himself with an automated device, the automated device will run out of balls, and the performers in the cocoons will leave behind the soundscape controllers for the audience to play with.

Obviously, we have our work cut out for us, given that this requires sewing, cutting, sawing, gluing, soldering, purchasing of electronic components and programming patches for Quartz Composer (into which we are, of course, going to try shoehorning audio processing functionality). And that’s before we even get to the performance aspects, such as creating the soundscape and rehearsing everything.

Last weekend we planned two worksessions. I went to Walmart and bought 22 yards of fabric (much to the chagrin of a lady behind me who just wanted to make a throw pillow for her two-year-old son), a roll of slice-and-bake cookies, and a six pack of Pete’s Wicked Ale. This was the first time anyone had ever brought alcohol deliberately for a worksession, and I was immediately commended by Robert on my choice. (At least I learned something during six years of school in Wisconsin.) However, while the choice of beer might have been excellent, the choice to bring beer proved to be less wise, as the worksession quickly denegrated into a drinking party after dinner with the help of a 12-pack of Bud Light, a bottle of vodka, and a certain former highschool classmate who shall go unnamed.

To make up for this setback, Robert and I got together mid-week and cut acrylic tubes into 3 inch sections to make the “plinks” for the plinko machine. After much deliberation as to whether the positioning of the plinks should be on a grid or be random, we laid them out in a binary tree-like pattern and attached them to the acrylic glass sheet with Liquid Nails. I carefully dabbed off the excess Liquid Nails on the work blanket from time to time in an effort to keep things clean, only to insert my hand in it midway through gluing on the plinks.

This weekend has gone better so far. Between Steve, Beth and I, we finished the mailing list email, sewed two cocoons onto their hoops, planned out a performance for an MIT co-op (who, if the performance meets their standards, might provide weekend Boston housing for us), and organized sound samples for the soundscape. Steve is working on Quartz Composer patches, which will likely be described in detail on this blog once they are complete. However, true to ruori form, there is still much to be completed on a tight deadline. We’ll keep you updated.