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Helmholtz


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Helmholtz


a space where sound is visible.

Installed at Glasgow Science Centre as part of Sonica 2015, Helmholtz was first presented at Reverb Festival set within Camden’s Roundhouse.

So, through all this noise and chaos, down into the basement one finds, tucked away in a corner between the main staircase and the toilets, a most singular island of peace and repose. Helmholtz seeks to make sound visible, and in doing so, assist us in evolving an understanding of the difference in how various sounds navigate and claim space. A low hanging array of small lights, suspended at chest height from individual wires, occupies a space of around 50 square metres. The space remains in darkness until you speak, or cough, or clap, or sing – all of which you are encouraged to do. There is even a piano, whispering into individual lights, or calling to a friend standing against a distant wall, the lights crackle into life as clouds, corridors, sheets, and fast moving waves. Like the best interactive, or reactive, applications, the success of the experience is completely dependant upon what – and how much – one personally puts into generating that experience.
— Michael Begg, Total Theatre

Helmholtz is designed as a space to encourage musical experimentation. It has set the scene for performances from musicians including Peter Gregson, London Contemporary Choir, Sam Brookes, The Maxwell Quartet and many others. For the Glasgow installation a piano was provided and visitors were encouraged to bring their own instruments. 

Fascinating watching the various pieces’ textures brought to visual life as the hanging bulbs flickered across the room, and even more intriguing to wonder how particular chords or sounds might be triggering bulbs in unusual patterns, or in lines cutting across the space.
— theartsdesk.com

This installation acts as a demonstration of acoustics – the real physical properties of sound. Each light object is analogue and autonomous without latency or central control, and so gives a realtime indication of the sound pressure level at that point. Combined into a distributed array they create a map of sound as it travels around you. In large spaces you can clap and see the sound travel away from you. You can also see beautiful patterns as different frequencies resonate across the room, this effect is most stark for low-frequency sounds as shown in the videos below.

Standing wave 01

Standing wave 02

Standing wave 03

Commisioning

Adaptable in location and scale Helmholtz can be presented as a one-off commission or as part of a wider festival programme. For more information contact@wintoursleap.com

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HELMHOLTZ London


HELMHOLTZ London


Sam Brooke’s performs at the Camden install of Helmholtz, accompanied by the London Contemporary Voices choir.

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Step Inside Radio


Step Inside Radio


Step Inside Radio explores the nature of shared radio experiences and the future of experimental radio. For this installation at the Roundhouse in Camden, Wintour’s Leap transformed four vintage radios into objects that each tell their own story in response to the physical proximity of their audience.