Sympathetic Response is a series of stringed instruments or zithers that hang on a wall or walls and the audience interacts with the piece by talking, screaming, singing, or playing an instrument towards the piece. The piece uses sympathetic resonance, where a sound producing part of an instrument, e.g. strings, vibrate from an external sound source and produce sound in response to the activating sound. This type of acoustic phenomenal can be found in Indian and Pamiri music that has multiple sympathetic strings on their instruments that produce an ethereal sound. The concept behind this project revolves around the questions of what defines a musical instrument as an object, can a musical instrument be autonomous, what other types of relationship can a musical instrument have with a musician and/or audience, and how can an audience be both listener and musician or performer. This project is part of a search to answer these questions and redefine the notion of musical instruments as objects and their relationship with the musician and audience. The piece has a therapeutic element where the audience communicates with the instruments and, through sympathetic resonance, will always respond back to the audience, as if it were a living autonomous being, thus playing with the name of the title.
Sympathetic Response at Personal Histories, March 2015 (Artist Brewery, Los Angeles, CA)