puff bang reverb is a semi-accurate,
two-dimensional hyper-zoom into the secret life of displaced air molecules.
puff bang reverb is based on an idea similar to the one in the Slowscan Soundwave
III). There is a grid of small wooden blocks hanging from the ceiling of the space. Each block
is attached to the ceiling via a piece of string and hangs about 6"
above the floor. In the middle of the grid is a motor with a piece of wood attached to it.
Hanging in front of the grid at mouth height is a wooden panel with the word "puff" on it.
The panel is an air-activated switch -- blowing on it turns on the motor. When the motor spins it
strikes the surrounding blocks of wood. Those blocks in turn strike their neighbors, which then
strike their neighbors, and so on. The spinning motor acts like an impulse, injecting energy into
the grid of wooden blocks. As the blocks knock into one another that energy slowly spreads throughout
This is roughly analogous to what happens when you blow, clap, or otherwise introduce a sudden burst
of energy into the air. Your action displaces air molecules, causing them in turn to displace their
neighboring molecules. This action reverberates though the air, transmitting the energy from
your action to distant parts of the space.
The reverberation in puff bang reverb is quite slow; it can take several minutes for the
energy from one puff/bang to reach the edges of the grid. It's fun to blow on the air switch and
watch the motor spin, but it's even nicer to then step back and wait while the effect of your
action slowly ripples through the grid.
puff bang reverb was commissioned by and presented in a shipping container at
Festival Rümlingen 2005.
A larger version was installed as part of the [silence] show at Gigantic Art Space, winter 2007. It is currently installed for the duration of summer 2007 at the
free103point9 Wave Farm.
Many people have helped fabricate and install the various versions of puff bang reverb.
It's a big piece, and I'd never be able to do it without their generosity. Thank you all! Helpers
include: Amy Benson, Victor Adan, Jeff Snyder, Sam Pluta, Katherine Valdes, Collin McChendo,
Ranjit Bhatnagar, Rory Solomon, Tom Bogaert, Kyle Lapidus,
Tali Hinkis, !Rama & Dlisah, Tom Roe, Noel Hidalgo, Victoria Estok, the staff at Festival
Rümlingen, the staff at Gigantic Art Space, the staff at Wave Farm. If I forgot anyone, please
let me know! Thanks!!!
Wave Farm movie (43MB)
Wave Farm images
David LaSpina's [silence] images
[silence] movie (8MB)
[silence] fab and install
Festival Rümlingen 2005 images
Festival Rümlingen install images