Pneumatic Sound
Field – Sound Interventions


CURATED BY Sneha Khanwalkar


15 - 22 DEC
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Old PWD Complex, Panjim 


Curated By Sneha Khanwalkar

In the installation Pneumatic Sound Field, a continuum is being created between rhythmical perception of sound, spatial perception of sound and the perception of pitch. A horizontal plane of pneumatic valves is used to produce wind, pressure and sound. The result is a breathing sound environment above the audience. 
Acoustical sound consists of temporary pressure changes traveling through the atmosphere of the air around us. While loudspeakers most often use moving membranes in order to produce these pressure changes, in Pneumatic Sound Field compressed air is used to produce acoustical sound. The compressed air is connected to very fast, controllable pneumatic valves, that release the pressurised air in the 'open' air. This results in controlled pressure changes in the atmosphere around the valve. Because the compressed air has always a higher pressure than the atmosphere not only sound is being produced but also a bit of wind and noise. The result can be seen as wind that contains sound. 
Pneumatic Sound Field makes use of discrete valves that have only two states: open or closed. Therefore, each valve forms a 1-bit audio sound source in a 42 channel 1-bit music composition. In contrast, the installation ‘Schwingungen’ makes use of proportional valves that allow for continuous pressure variations. 
Our hearing has—just as our seeing—a change in perception around the frequency range of 16 to 20 Hertz. A sequence of flm frames is being perceived by us as something happening in time instead of individual frames with jumps in between when the frame rate is higher than about 16 frames per second. The same counts for our hearing. Repeating vibrations with a repetition frequency higher than 16 Hz are being perceived as tones while at a lower repetition frequency they are being perceived as individual pulses. The spatial perception of the location of a sound source is partly determined by the difference in arrival time of the source at the left ear and the source at the right ear. This technique is often reversely applied in stereo reproduction where a mono sound is played little earlier out of the left speaker then the right speaker (or reversely) in order to spatialise the sound at any location between the two loudspeakers. 
Pneumatic Sound Field uses spatial time delays of impulses over the 42 valves. By using diferent speeds, delays and repetitions a continuum is being created between spatial rhythmical patterns, spatial localisation of sound, movement of sound and the perception of tones and pitches. Pneumatic Sound Field was developed by Edwin van der Heide during a project residency at tesla-berlin e.v. and premiered at sonambiente 2006. The development of the work has continued with new compositional material between 2007 and 2019.

Image: Pneumatic Sound Field, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, during V2_'s DEAF07, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 2007.