silos

The Mungo Scott Silos in Sydney were the site of a sound and vibration collaboration between Eliot Palmer and Mark Brown, taking place between late 2011 and early 2013.

The artists worked inside the site’s five-storey mill building, which was constructed in 1922 and until recently was still used for flour processing.

The project focused on the chutes and platforms that cut through the building’s floors. Because of their their large scale and fabricated metal construction, the equipment can generate deep low-frequency resonances and harmonically complex rattles and buzzes. The artists tuned an array of tactile transducers to reveal the dormant acoustic characteristics of these structures.  These transducers are devices that are clamped or screwed into materials, and through pistons, rods or shakers, cause structures to act as a ‘loudspeaker’ with characteristics unique to their form and scale.

View a video of the installation process at vimeo.com/surfaceresonance

Applying transducers to these materials can create a wide range of sonic responses, from ambient hums, to discordant shakes and rattles. Pure tones and musical bass can be transformed into metallic, irregular and raw vibration sound. Through site-specific compositions, the project is explored this tension between musicality and abstracted vibrations.

By working with large structures and through multiple levels of the building, the artists developed highly immersive and enveloping soundscapes. The transducers, chutes and platforms also provide a tactile element for audience access and interaction. The physical vibrations can be felt through the body by standing, touching or leaning on materials, augmenting and amplifying what is heard.