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Patterns of Metric Amplitude

by Gregory Shakar

Patterns of Metric Amplitude is a human-scale kinetic sculpture that reveals intricate and evolving rhythmic and visual patterns through the pulsations of multiple 8-foot tall metronomes. As each metronome's pendulum swings past its center point a brief pitched tone is played. Alone, a metronome plays a simple regular pattern; when a number of metronomes play together their simple patterns combine to create complex rhythms.

Control panels allow listeners to individually adjust each metronome's tempo (the speed at which it swings) by raising or lowering the devices' motorized weights. When a metronome's weight is raised, its swinging slows - decreasing the tempo, and when the weight is lowered the tempo is increased. In this way the listener is able to influence the rhythms they are hearing. The control panels also allow listeners to set the pitch of each metronome's tone, and thus the rhythmic patterns also form shifting melodies and harmonies that fold and recombine as the patterns evolve.

Gregory Shakar is exploring various paths toward the goal of creating emotive and expressive active art. In the course of this effort he taps his experience as an artist, musician, and composer with the intention of teasing out the fundamentals of human attention and fascination. While participating with his recent reactive sound sculptures, viewers have controlled thunderous 30-meter long wires, unassuming 3-meter tall metronomes, dozens of dangling tentacles, sociable spiny metal spheres and musical bolts of lightning. In 2001 Shakar was an Artist in Residence at the Ars Electronic Center in Linz, Austria and afterwards began a position as a Research Fellow at the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University. He is native to New York City and holds graduate and undergraduate degrees from NYU in music, technology and electronic-art.


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