Pierre Berthet – Extended Drops

September 15, 2010 § 7 Comments

extdrops From July 1st to September 12th 2010 Belgian sound artist Pierre Berthet exposed his work Extended Drops at Singuhr Hörgalerie in Berlin (Germany). The opening took place on July 1st, at 20h. Long night: September 12th.

In this work, the artist uses special self-built loudspeakers which he refers to as “extended loudspeakers”. These are loudspeaker chassis without a membrane with steel wires attached to them. The loudspeaker’s reverberations are transmitted via the wires to resonating bodies made of tin cans. The resonating bodies are linked in such a way that temporally as well as aurally differentiated sounds are projected into the space. In “Extended Drops”, the sounds of water droplets emit impulses and sounds for the network of resonators branched in the space. The analogue droplet sounds and their electronic treatment create a wide rhythmic and aural spectrum. A highly variable, spatial percussion instrument results – an homage to the former function of the space as a water reservoir.

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“Extended Drops” is based on two of Pierre Berthet’s other projects: “Extended Loudspeakers” and “Drops”. The basic principle of the first one is to fix a steel wire in the motor of a loudspeaker without membrane. The wire is connected at its other end to a net of can-resonators suspended and spread in the space. The inputs sent in the loudspeaker make the steel wires vibrate and sounds come out of the cans:

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“Drops” simply consists in water drops falling, from a height of about 2 meters, on various suspended tin cans, with various speeds:

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More details including photographs and sound examples from “Extended Loudspeakers” and “Drops” can be found on the artist’s website, as well as on the CD “Extended Loudspeakers”, edited by SubRosa in 2009.

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In “Extended Drops” these two earlier installations are combined, by applying different ways in which the drops can trigger the inputs that are sent into the extended loudspeakers:
1. A contact microphone is fixed on the side of a tin-can drum so that the sounds that result from the falling of the drops can be sent into the extended loudspeaker. The drop sounds can be pitched, so as to ensure a more efficient vibrating.

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2. The two parts of a cut loudspeaker cable are installed under the falling drops, so that the electric signal passes only when they are hit by drops. (The development of this method was inspired by an installation of Arno Fabre.) The water is mixed with a small amount of chloridic acid. Inputs are modulated sine waves, pre-recorded and tuned so as to suit the installation.

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Devices may be multiplied according to the dimensions of the space.

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Here are a number of sound examples that were recorded during the first try-out period at the Singuhr Hörgalerie in Berlin:



Pierre Berthet has adapted his Extended Drops for the workspace of Intro In Situ in Maastricht (Capucijnengang 12). There, together with Esther Vernooy’s The Shadow of A Wall, it is part of Intro’s presentation of the Resonance project. The installations can be visited from December 11th, 2010, until January 30th, 2011. Opening hours: Wednesday till Sunday, between 12h and 17h. Entry: €3,-. Intro In Situ is closed on Christmas days and New Year’s day.
The opening of the exhibition is on Friday December 10th. It starts with a special concert of contemporary music performed on the carillon of the Maastricht town hall, at 20h. ]

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