Sphere Packing

Subsculpture 15

"Sphere Packing" is a series of 3D-printed pieces designed to concentrate the entire musical production of a composer in a single dense multi-channel device. The size of each sphere is directly proportional to how prolific the composer was, for example the sphere for Johann Sebastian Bach has 48 cm diameter and holds 1100 loudspeakers playing simultaneously Bach's 1100 different compositions, while the sphere for Hildegaard Von Bingen only has 11 cm diameter and 69 loudspeakers. The project presents at a glance the comparative production volume of many composers. As people are a couple metres away from a sphere they hear a quiet murmur of sounds, but as they approach and put their ear up close to individual speakers they can hone in on specific compositions. The series is inspired by American composer Charles Ives' practice of simultaneity as a compositional tool.

Technically, a set of custom-made circuit boards allow the simultaneous playback of thousands of separate sound channels. The spheres are modeled algorithmically and then 3D printed in different materials depending on the composer. Each piece is suspended from a small playback box which is hung from the ceiling of the exhibition space. The piece begins playback immediately upon powering the box with 110 or 220V power. A small remote control allows the curator or collector to set an appropriate volume for the piece, although the piece is very quiet by its very design, even at its maximum volume a sphere produces a din that can be heard from about a 3 m radius. To discern individual compositions the public must be right beside a sphere, 5 cm away.

The recordings used are either in the public domain or legally purchased for the piece. Mitigating copyright concerns is that the volume of each track is extremely quiet and that a track can only be heard in the context of the other music being played-back.

General info

Spanish name:
Empaquetamiento de Esferas
Year of creation:
2013
Keywords:

Ludwig van Beethoven

Technique:
3D printed sphere using different materials depending on the composer, massive multi-channel sound system, custom-made electronics, stainless steel, IR remote control
Power:
200W on 110 OR 220V
Edition:
3 copies + 1 AP copy

John Cage

Technique:
3D printed sphere using different materials depending on the composer, massive multi-channel sound system, custom-made electronics, stainless steel, IR remote control
Power:
200W on 110 OR 220V
Edition:
3 copies + 1 AP copy

Henryk Górecki

Technique:
dyed transparent polymer 3D print, 105 channels of sound, custom-made electronics, stainless steel, IR remote control
Power:
200W on 110 OR 220V
Dimensions:
sphere has a 13 cm diameter
Weight:
3 Kg
Edition:
3 copies + 1 AP copy

Charles Ives

Technique:
3D printed sphere using different materials depending on the composer, massive multi-channel sound system, custom-made electronics, stainless steel, IR remote control
Power:
200W on 110 OR 220V
Edition:
3 copies + 1 AP copy

György Ligeti

Technique:
3D printed sphere using different materials depending on the composer, massive multi-channel sound system, custom-made electronics, stainless steel, IR remote control
Power:
200W on 110 OR 220V
Edition:
3 copies + 1 AP copy

Gustav Mahler

Technique:
3D printed sphere using different materials depending on the composer, massive multi-channel sound system, custom-made electronics, stainless steel, IR remote control
Power:
200W on 110 OR 220V
Edition:
3 copies + 1 AP copy

Claudio Monteverdi

Technique:
3D printed sphere using different materials depending on the composer, massive multi-channel sound system, custom-made electronics, stainless steel, IR remote control
Power:
200W on 110 OR 220V
Edition:
3 copies + 1 AP copy

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Technique:
white polymer 3D print, 565 channels of sound, custom-made electronics, stainless steel, IR remote control
Power:
200W on 110 OR 220V
Dimensions:
sphere has a 35 cm diameter
Weight:
5 Kg
Edition:
3 copies + 1 AP copy

Luigi Nono

Technique:
3D printed sphere using different materials depending on the composer, massive multi-channel sound system, custom-made electronics, stainless steel, IR remote control
Power:
200W on 110 OR 220V
Edition:
3 copies + 1 AP copy

Franz Schubert

Technique:
3D printed sphere using different materials depending on the composer, massive multi-channel sound system, custom-made electronics, stainless steel, IR remote control
Power:
200W on 110 OR 220V
Edition:
3 copies + 1 AP copy

Karlheinz Stockhausen

Technique:
aluminium composite 3D print, 203 channels of sound, custom-made electronics, stainless steel, IR remote control
Power:
200W on 110 OR 220V
Dimensions:
sphere has a 18 cm diameter
Weight:
3 Kg
Edition:
3 copies + 1 AP copy

Hildegard Von Bingen

Technique:
bronzed steel 3D print, 69 channels of sound, custom-made electronics, stainless steel, IR remote control
Power:
200W on 110 OR 220V
Dimensions:
sphere has a 11 cm diameter
Weight:
3 Kg
Edition:
3 copies + 1 AP copy

Richard Wagner

Technique:
glazed porcelain 3D print, 110 channels of sound, custom-made electronics, stainless steel, IR remote control
Power:
200W on 110 OR 220V
Dimensions:
sphere has a 13 cm diameter
Weight:
3 Kg
Edition:
3 copies + 1 AP copy

Constellation of 5 composers

Edition:
3 copies + 1 AP copy

Constellation of 17 composers

Additionnal info:
consists of: Claudio Monteverdi, Gustav Mahler, Hildegard Von Bingen, Luigi Nono, Conlon Nancarrow, György Ligeti, Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, Richard Wagner, Charles Ives, Igor Stravinsky, Karlheinz Stockhausen, John Cage, Ludwig van Beethoven, Wolfgang A. Mozart, George Frideric Handel, Franz Schubert, Johann Sebastian Bach
Edition:
1 copy + 1 AP copy

Exhibitions


Credits

  • Jordan Parsons - Programming and hardware
  • Stephan Schulz, Claudia Espinosa, Orion Szydel, Julie Bourgeois, Karine Charbonneau, Pierre Fournier, Carolina Murillo-Morales, Sergio Clavijo - Production support

Bibliography