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Vacuum cleaner music

By Rhizome

Celeste Boursier-Mougenot's Harmonichaos is a sound installation made of 13 vacuum cleaners fitted with a harmonica in their mouth and a switch that turns them on/off. Each is connected to a sound frequency analyzer (a modified electronic guitar tuner).

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A microphone inside the analyzer reacts to sound frequencies, indicates their pitch and identifies single notes. However, the presence of several sounds at once, such as that which occurs when someone approaches a module, disturbs its analysis, and the module reprograms itself. The tuners generate acoustic activity in the harmonicas and react by producing unpredictable orchestrations of the modules' chords, prearranged by the artist/composer.

Céleste Boursier-Mougenot's Harmonichaos is on view until Oct 21, 2006 at the Paula Cooper Gallery,

Two more installation with vacuum claeners: Staalplaat's Composition for 60 vacuum cleaners (and 2 cement mixers, 2002) and Wolf Vostell's Fluxus-symphony for 40 vacuum cleaners that dates back to 1976!

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More vacuum cleaning: Vacuum cleaner to capture goblins; dust stool; in Staalplaat's Sale Away, passers-by could use their mobile phone to conduct an "orchestra" that consisted of flute, organ and brass playing vacuum cleaners, rattling kitchen mixers, buzzing ventilators, radio playing toy trains, wobbling jigsaws, dancing tumble dryers, humming refrigerators and other misused household utilities; Hoovering the carpet away; etc.

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