I am sitting in a room is a piece of experimental music composed by Alvin Lucier in 1969. The work is fascinating to me, because the acoustic of the room is at the heart of how the music evolves during the work. Given the importance of the room to how the music sounds, I wanted to see how it would sound in the extraordinary acoustic of the Edward Theatre which was build with natural acoustics in mind as electro-acoustic were non-existent.
The work normally involves saying a spoken phrase in a room, recording that on a microphone before replaying that through the room again and again. So each subsequent rendition has passed through the room many times. What starts as speech is quickly degraded to unintelligible reverberation, before ending up as simple tones as the feedback loop amplifies resonances of the room.
In the original text, Lucier recites, ‘ I regard this activity not so much as a demonstration of a physical fact, but more as a way to smooth out any irregularities my speech might have.’
But for me, the fascination is the intellectual exercise, and the demonstration of the physics.
I Struggled for 30 hours in order to achieve a simple task ie. I wanted to pixelate the video as the voice is being distorted. I use a tool called ScreenFlow a lot for basic video editing and capturing screen activity. This tool failed to do what i wanted same for the stock iMovie. They both worked on the absolute principle ie full pixilation or none. No way to achieve it over time. After trying for a day I ended up downloading Adobe Premier Pro which allowed me to do the same also it gave me an option to add animation curve to the process, this made me happy as now could match the values of resonance and pixelation. This joy was short lived as while rendering it kept on crashing and when it worked it showed me ever increasing time to render. After this ordeal I went back to my comfort zone of Max Msp. After fiddling around for 5 min, object called jit.plur solved everything. what it does is it performs an linear interpolation on incoming matrix frames ie. it resamples an image and then interpolates back to the original size.
Since I did this experiment in Ableton, and IRCAM tools allows to explore energy, fft data, I could hook this data with jit.plur and i did the same. After Struggling for some odd 30 hour my problems was solved in 20 min!