Jason Kahn 
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Works for Radio
"Sine Field"

Technique: speakers, max/msp audio synthesis software, high frequency sine waves, amplifiers, computer

Festival Garage
Stralsund, Germany

August 3–10, 2003

Juan B. Castagnino Art Museum
International Festival of Electronic Art 404
Rosario, Argentina

December 6–12, 2004

Sine Field is an eight-channel sound installation for eight computer-generated oscillators creating sine waves in a frequency range of 10,000 to 18,000 hz. Each channel of sound will carry a frequency starting at 10,000 hz and incrementing with 1,000 hz per channel up to the maximum limit of 18,000 hz. Depending on the size of the space eight to sixteen speakers will be used. A computer application designed especially for this installation will cause the placement of the eight audio channels in the space to gradually shift, each frequency range thus moving from speaker to speaker.

The psycho acoustic properties of high frequency sine waves are such that any slight movement of the listener's head will produce a radical change in the perception of the sound. The idea behind the installation Sine Field is to activate a space with sound bordering on the physical limits of perception. On entering the installation space the listener will perceive a constantly shifting net of finely oscillating frequencies–a part of the oscillations resulting from the shifting in-and-out of phase between the different sine waves; another part resulting from the listener's movement in the space and the gradual shift of sine waves from speaker to speaker. The nature of the high frequency sine waves and the shifting speaker diffusion will result in a subtle yet unmistakeable manipulation of the listener's spatial orientation.

Sine Field addresses the questions: where does the perception of sound begin and how much of this perception occurs on a strictly physical as opposed to a psycho acoustic level; and how is our spatial orientation determined in a field of sound where the acoustic reference points are always changing?

Sine Field is not only intended as an experiment confronting the limits of sound perception but also a beautiful sound piece: the space will be filled with the gentle beating of sine waves as they phase in and out of eachother and immerse the listener in a continually shifting field of sound.