Published online by Cambridge University Press: 19 January 2004
This article discusses the responsive sound installation Reeds. The Reeds project was commissioned by the Melbourne International Festival of the Arts in 2000, and first exhibited in November and December of that year on the Ornamental Lake at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne. It consists of twenty-one large floating sculptures, modelled to represent clusters of river reeds in immaculate man-made plantings. Each reed pod contains a collection of electronics for either the gathering of weather information or the reception and dispersion of sound. The sound installation gathered data from two real-time weather stations, and produced eight channels of musical output by interpreting the machine unit pulses of the weather data as pulse inputs to Inverse Fast Fourier Transform (IFFT) algorithms. The Reeds project focused on a consideration of multiple streams of chaotic and constantly varying sound. I was interested in exploring whether the sonic environment would remain homogenous even though, unlike a musical ensemble, the control inputs varied randomly and independently of each other. The sound installation was site specific, reflecting directly upon the environment it inhabited, both in terms of its visual quality, and aesthetic of the sound.