“The sound is much like a glass harmonica playing gentle glissandi… What was intended as sonic art is actually a beautiful new instrument.” The Wire
Tipping Point invites us to consider our relationship with water, and the necessity of balancing how we use the world’s water resources. The installation is created using a delicate combination of glass, water, audio feedback and lighting. Glass vessels filled with water are balanced by mechanics and bespoke computer software, which listens to microphone feedback produced by the acoustic qualities of the vessels themselves. The glasses are arranged in pairs and interconnected, and as one glass fills, the other empties. The quantity of the water inside each glass changes the pitch of the audio feedback and the brightness of the lights inside. When all of the twelve are resonating, a layered, choral texture is created, whereas a solo or duet reveals plaintive rising and falling scales. The “tipping point” is a metaphor employed to talk about balance and the cause and effect of shifting water levels.
Tipping Point forms both a sculptural sound installation and the basis of a live performance in which Kathy Hinde controls all the aspects of the installation live including the speed of the motors, the positions of the mechanical arms, the water levels, and how many glass vessels are resonating. She works with a range of guitar pedals to re-pitch the sounds, accentuate different frequencies, and add reverb to augment the soundscape to create an immersive composition.
Tipping Point is a collaboration with John Rowden at the Scientific Glass Workshop in the School of Physics at the University of Bristol with software designed by Matthew Olden. Tipping Point received an honorary mention for the Prix Ars Electronica Digital Musics and Sound Art Category 2015.
“...there is much to be gained from allowing your attention to slip away and be carried off into abstract reflections, held aloft by the delicate, measured interplay of glass, water and electronics.” Total Theatre on Tipping Point at Sonica, Glasgow 2015
This blog documents the creative process and development of Tipping Point.
Video of Tipping Point installation at Woodend Barn, Aberdeenshire when exhibited at sound festival in November 2014
Video of Tipping Point Live performance rehearsal at Klangraum Krems Minoritie Church, Austria, June 2017