Swinging Variations 1-6

Bachelor graduation project
ArtScience Interfaculty
Exhibited at the KABK Graduation show 2022
30 minute performance

This project showcases 6 self-built musical instruments which are left to swing freely and express their own patterns of sound and movement. Each one is made using a simple combination of shapes and materials. Through these 6 variations, I hope to gain new insights into the physical and musical phenomena of swinging.

Conventional histories of swinging mechanisms start with Galileo's pendulum experiments in the 16th century, which proved that pendulums swing at a constant frequency. This was followed by the invention of the pendulum clock, which became the world's most precise timekeeper until the 1930s. As a result, pendulums have become symbolic of the regular passing of time, and even the idea of the universe as a vast natural clock which ticks according to the laws of physics.

In contrast, I have chosen to explore the ancient swinging mechanisms which existed before Galileo and pendulum clocks. These alternative devices are irregular, asymmetrical, or erratic, and as a result, they structure our perception of time in new terms. For instance, speeding up/slowing down time with oscillations, segmenting our temporal experience with sparse patterns, or allowing us to experience micro time-scales by using very fast rhythms. Each mechanism brings its own kind of temporal logic, and encourages us to move away from the regular passing of clock time and towards new and unfamiliar temporal experiences.

What can we learn about time by listening to these instruments?

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