Roberto Pugliese, ‘Equilibrium’, 2011, Mazzoli
Roberto Pugliese, ‘Equilibrium’, 2011, Mazzoli
Roberto Pugliese, ‘Equilibrium’, 2011, Mazzoli

The work is focused on the development of the phenomenon of acoustic feedback (Larsen effect) in the three-dimensional space in which mobile devices operate. Supports made of plexiglass in an L shaped form are fixed on a wall. On each support an arm is fixed and a microphone is placed on the horizontal part of each arm, and an audio cone on the vertical part. The audio cones are all of different sizes and powers. When a microphone is located in the vicinity of a cone it induces the system to go into feedback mode bringing it to the saturation of the signal, and subsequently to breaking point.. Since each speaker has a specific resonance, due to his physical shape and to the material it is made of, the Larsen effect is different for each micro system microphone / cone. Software developed by the artist places the robotic arms in the space in a dynamic manner thus controlling the distance from the speakers to prevent the system from going into saturation. In this way, each micro system seeks - without finding it –its own equilibrium, which is physically impossible to obtain. The Larsen effect, usually perceived as an annoying error, becomes the driving force behind the work. The spasmodic search for the equilibrium creates a dynamic effect acoustic and visual, obsessively changing, which is expressed in a structured and iridescent carpet of sound.

  • The Larsen effect (named after the physicist Søren Larsen Absalon who first discovered the principle), also known as acoustic feedback, is the typical shrill whistle that develops when the sounds emitted from a loudspeaker is received back with sufficient "power booster" by a microphone (or pickup of any electric musical instrument, like a guitar or bass) and sent it back to the same speaker, in a closed circuit. The effect is usually triggered when the microphone is too close to the speaker and captures the frequency emitted by the latter, at any given time stronger than the other, which is then amplified and reproduced, in turn, with gradually increasing amplitude, virtually unlimited, except for the fact that the amplifier goes into saturation.

We thank Ing. Walter Pugliese for technical contribution to the realization of the work.

Image rights: Photo by Thomas Nitz

About Roberto Pugliese

Italian, b. 1982, Naples, Italy, based in Bologna, Metropolitan City of Bologna, Italy

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