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Fig. 2. Iain Mott and Marc Raszewski, The Talhing Chair, sound sculpture, interac­ tive listening envi­ ronment of steel, glass, loudspeakers, electronics, mir­ rors, aluminium and plywood, 1994. Participants are sur­ rounded by an amalgam of sampled an synthe­ sized sounds while seated in The Talking Chair. Each participant's experi­ ence in the Chair is a unique result of his or her move­ ments and gestures. Nuvojaponica explores the merging of traditional Japanese customs with American iconography. In a sense, the work is an extension of what the Pop Art movement said about our society: every­ thing is consumable and commercial­ ized. I am interested in cross-cultural fascination. Last year, I went into the Hard Rock Cafe after the debut otNuvo Japonica at Gallery International 57 in New York. Lo and behold, the place was filled with young, upwardly mobile Japa­ nese people wearing cowboy hats, leather chaps, denim skirts and blouses. They were eating hamburgers and french fries with lots of ketchup. My fa­ vorite meal is sushi. This is what Nuvo Japonica is all about. Through sharing our cultures and experiences, I believe we can reverse the downward spiral of society and build a new renaissance as we inherit our own future. Reference 1. "Laurence M. Gartel: Nuvojaponica and other Cybernetic Romances," exh. cat. (West Palm Beach, FL: Norton Gallery of Art, 1991). THE TALKING CHAIR: NOTES O N A SOUND SCULPTURE Iain Mott, P.O. Box 188, Brunswick East, Victoria 3057, Australia Received 28June 1994. AcceptedJor publication by RogerF. Molina. The Talking Chair (Fig. 2) is an interac­ tive listening environment created by designer Marc Raszewski and myself, a composer. Integrating sculpture, elec­ tronics and industrial design, the Chair immerses the listener in a three-dimen­ sional (3D) sound space. The concept of The Talking Chair de­ veloped out of a number of spatial sound compositions, inspired by John Chowning's "Turenas," that I had writ­ ten for performer and electronics in a concert environment. I decided to make a break from large-scale sound projection to a more intimate, one-toone relationship with the audience. The Talking Chair focuses on the individual, avoiding many of the technical compli­ cations of auditorium projection. More importantly, however, the Chair has en­ abled me to communicate that element most rewarding to me in composing and performing those earlier pieces, the act of directly connecting with spa­ tial sound. We have endeavored to sensitize the listener to the kinetic and 3D qualities of sound by producing a holistic theater of sensation. The Talking Chair is an at­ tempt to forge links between the ephem­ eral nature of music and the material world by expressing musical process through physical poetry. It requires the creative input of the individual to give it meaning, to perfect an imaginary uni­ verse of cause, effect and response. Raszewski's design consists of a system of interlocking steel rings supporting a battery of six loudspeakers, a cabinet of glass and mirrors and an anthropomor­ phic chair made of cast aluminium, ply­ wood panels and steel fittings, which forms the center piece of the sculpture. The outer structural rings direct atten­ tion towards the chair, suggesting a metaphorical statement about human interaction with technology. Participants are instructed by signage to take a seat in the chair, pick up the wand located to the side of the cabinet in front of them and move the wand through the region between their bod­ ies and the lower half of the cabinet. As they do so, clusters of sound issue from the speakers, drawing invisible shapes through a spherical sound space sur­ rounding the body. The pitch, timbre, loudness and density of the sound change with the spatial position and ve­ locity of the wand. As an aid to navigat­ ing with the wand, the viewing cabinet displays the wand tip as a glowing ball moving about a reflected image of the participant's head. The position of the ball relative to the head corresponds to the perceived position of sound in the space surrounding the listener. The sonic landscape created for The Talking Chair is an amalgam of sampled and synthesized sounds chosen for their kinetic dynamics...


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