Pendular is a collaborative piece that I developed with Marcel Wang as part of the ITP's NIME class.
It is an interactive musical system that explores the physical motion of hanging objects as a method for manipulating sound. Using wind and light, we work in tandem to control the environment in which these objects react. As the objects swing and spin through the air, their movements are interpreted as sonic transformations ranging from calm and predictable to chaotic and random.
With our piece we hope to tap into how we are drawn to observing natural movements, such as a balloon flying into the sky, or a pendulum swinging for eternity. These motions give us a glimpse into the infinite interconnected variables that make up our reality and provide us a moment of meditative peace and contemplation. Using a circle and square, the geometric primitives that represent fundamental physical building blocks, we try to capture the sensibility and romance through their interactions and inspire people's imagination and memory through movement and sound.
We use light and wind to inject natural movement and energy into our performance. The three-dimensional motions of the cube and disk are captured and transmitted to a computer in real-time, where they are transformed into sonic parameters. The cube controls a synthesizer while the circle modulates effects on live vocals.
Our lyrics draw from scientific laws such as Newton's Laws of Motion the Law of Conservation of Energy. We each speak in a different language, blending our voices into a soundscape controlled by the objects' movements.
An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.
— Newton's first Law of Motion
The total energy of an isolated system remains constant; it is said to be conserved over time. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed; rather, it can only be transformed or transferred from one form to another.
— Law of Conservation of Energy
Poem by Zairan Liu