Tussle Magazine: May you explain your inspiration in constructing The Chime?
Marc De Pape: The original Chime (on display at InterAccess but not functional... there's a new version which is running in the gallery) was inspired by a combination of generative instruments (like a wind chime) and urban informatics (the layer of digital sensing that models the city). I wanted to see if some of the sensors that abstract the city in order to explain it could be used to express the quality of the city, rather than quantify it.
T.M.: What were your limitations when creating this piece?
MDP: In a lot of ways the major limitation is enough computation power to generate a continuous flow of music. The original Chime recorded data to an SD card and I then converted it to a sound recording. The Chime now runs live, which is very intensive. In the future I'd love to be able to use The Chime to generate music, but have the audio generation come from the object itself without losing too much quality.
T.M.: How would you liked to have designed it differently? (if applicable)
MDP: Well, the new version which is on display is assembled mechanically and made of maple and aluminum . The original was made out of acrylic and silicon, which was not terribly robust, especially for public interactivity. The new version is much more durable. If I were to take it further I'd probably make a smaller version that was weather proof which you could connect to via a smartphone. That way you could tune in to it whenever you'd like and place it wherever is most compelling.
THE CHIME by Marc De Pape
July 21, 2015
Marc De Pape's first solo exhibition at InterAccess, The Chime, is on now until August 8. This exhibition features a completely new chime that has been redesigned, rebuilt, and returned to respond to visitors to InterAccess. The original chime is also on display, along with selections from Scoring the City, Marc's visual album created from the Chime's data recordings.
T.M.:The construction of the piece, leaving it open for viewers to see the inner workings, why was this important to the piece visually?
MDP: The history of industrial design and electronic devices is all about hiding the functional components in a shell. I think there's something to be said for not treating technology as the black box it is so frequently depicted as (both visually and logically). This is also why I produced a visualization. It's important to present the live data because otherwise how is anyone to know, in a live setting, that the audio isn't just a playback? The video is an important didactic element that encourages interaction. The design, of both Chimes, aims to invite curiosity.
T.M.: You incorporated video in the Nuit Blanche rendition of The Chime, was that facet interactive as well? May you explain the reason you added video?
MDP: It's not really video, but a live visualization of the data coming off the sensors. All versions of the Chime have some form of data visualization. Even the videos available on my website documenting the original data recordings had superimposed visualizations. Like I said before, it helps explain what is transpiring, hopefully generating as many questions as it resolves.
T.M.: What are your future plans for this work?
MDP: I'd love to exhibit it again, but I'd prefer to do so in a public place as opposed to a gallery. I'd be curious to see how people respond when it’s not the destination.