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Induction Instruments

​photos: Petri Taivalkoski and Shahin Parhami

A system for realtime manipulation of sound generated by different permutations of electromagnetic energy: the fields themselves, interactions between magnetic devices, and vibration created with these means. 


Electromagnetic fields are produced by all manner of electronic devices and can be received wirelessly as audio signals; these fields are present everywhere in nature as well, emanating from the earth and organic life forms.  The intention is not only to observe that activity, but to structure and compose it, using it as a medium in itself and finding its generative potentials. In these installations, coils and wire loops transmit electrical fields with live or preprogrammed audio; they are captured and controlled with wearable inductive pickups. Audio streams are processed in Max/MSP and diffused with a hybrid flat-panel sound system. Non-linear feedback events are also created with shifting digital filters.


Electromagnetics, by their non-contact mysteries, recall the metaphysics of the Quaker philosopher Rufus Jones:

‘’We discover energies of every type through organs and instruments of manifestation. The reason the race was slow in discovering the nature of electrical energy was that men had no adequate instrument of manifestation. Its manifestation was either too feeble or too powerful. We began to discover its real nature as soon as the dynamo was invented and electricity could break through and manifest itself. The dynamo does not create electricity; it merely lets it break through.’’

In spring 2014, Induction Instruments traveled to Zurich, Switzerland. Florian Dombois and Kaspar Konig of the ZHdK hosted an experimental concert in their hand-built Windkanal (windtunnel). Not only a device for testing architectural models and flying carpets, the windtunnel can be used as a design machine, activating acoustic activity in the thundersheets used as part of the sound output system. With the wind machine turned to a high speed, the metal thundersheets began emitting ghostly wailing. 

Concerts include:

2019: Solo set presented by Innovations en Concert, le Livart Gallery, Montréal

2017: Solo set at the ReEmbodied Sound Conference, Columbia University, NYC. Travel supported by Canada Council for the Arts.

2015: Residency and concert at the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies, UC Berkeley

2014: Solo set at Yatta Makerspace, Milan, Italy; Solo at Zürcher Hochschule der Künste, Switzerland

2013: Duo with Marianne Decoster-Taivalkoski and artist talk at Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland. Travel supported by the Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec (CALQ); duo with Amir Amiri at my New City Gas studio, Montréal

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