Tipping Point invites us to consider our relationship with water and the need to balance how we use the world’s water resources. The installation is created using a delicate combination of glass, water, audio feedback and lighting.
Twelve glass vessels are arranged in pairs and suspended from mechanical arms that slowly tip from left to right. Each pair of vessels is connected, which allows a shared body of water to flow from one to the other. This causes the relative water levels to shift inside each glass vessel. As one fills, the other empties. They are intricately linked and need to keep re-balancing and adjusting so neither overflows or completely empties.
Sound tones are produced live via a microphone that feeds back inside each glass vessel. As the water levels change, this audio feedback is tuned to different pitches based on the resonant frequency of the remaining space inside each glass vessel.
Software keeps the audio feedback in balance at its “tipping point”, by listening to the volume and adjusting the microphone gain to maintain a tone, but preventing it continually increasing in volume. Consequently, the sound tends to flicker slightly and fluctuate in volume. This phenomenon is accentuated by LED lights that illuminate each vessel, with their brightness being determined in relation to the volume of each vessel’s resonating sound.
The number of glass tubes that are resonating varies. When all twelve vessels are resonating, a layered, choral texture is created, whereas a solo or duet reveals the plaintive rising and falling scales. This system is controlled by generative software so the sequences and patterns created will not repeat.
Tipping Point forms both a sculptural sound installation and the basis of a live performance. Kathy Hinde performs Tipping Point live by manually controlling all the parameters of the installation. She then further sculpts the sounds through various guitar pedals, which in turn affects how the audio feedback behaves inside the vessels.
Kathy Hinde (UK). Her artwork and music grows from a partnership between nature and technology expressed through audiovisual installations and performances that combine sound, sculpture, image and light. She often uses open scores, graphic scores and chance procedures to create a framework from which an artwork can emerge and evolve. Kathy frequently works in collaboration with other creative practitioners and professionals from different disciplines in order to enrich and challenge her creative process. She has shown work across Europe, Scandinavia, China, Pakistan, the USA, Colombia and Brazil. Kathy is an Associate Artist with the producing art house Cryptic in Glasgow, Scotland.
Composition, Concept, Design, Construction, Electronics: Kathy Hinde
Handblown Glass Vessels: John Rowden
Software programming: Matthew Olden
Specialized parts: University of Bristol, School of Physics Mechanical and Glass Workshop
A Cryptic commission for Sonica. Supported by PRS for Music Foundation, The Britten-Pears Foundation, The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, The Hinrichsen Foundation and Cove Park