Sound on Paper (1985) – Alvin Lucier

Alvin Lucier

Different kinds of paper are stretched on two wooden and two metallic frames. Behind each frame, a loudspeaker is installed. Each emits same low frequency sine tone, which makes the paper vibrate audibly and visibly, in turn coloring and projecting the tone.

The frequency sent to all the loudspeakers is identical, between 32 and 44 Hz, but each kind of paper reacts differently to the signal.
Only the loudness of the signal sent to the four speakers changes independently; each speaker has its own timetable. So the objects are heard not only as a quartet, but also in every other possible combination: as trios, duos and solos, and at varying intensities. Sound on Paper was first realized as a concert piece that accompanied a dance performance, with Lucier controlling the amplitude of the signals live.

The installation for ZKM | Karlsruhe was realized by ENSEMBLE UIACX from the University of Indianapolis (US) in collaboration with Alvin Lucier.

Sound sequence: Alvin Lucier, Sound on Paper, 1985