NASSER ALSHEMIMRY & BLANK STUDIO | THE VORTEX
Presenting itself in an act of manipulation through sound and vision,The Vortex (2019) is an interactive sound installation conceived by sound artist Nasser Alshemimry and designed and executed by Blank Studio. The interactive musical installation consists of metal pipes sway- ing above a threshold and clicking percussively together autonomously, thereby generating rhythms. Audience members are invited to engage with The Vortex by strumming the pipes and adding to the sound pro- duced.
In this piece, artist Nasser Alshemimry was inspired by his interest in aleatory in music, which refers to random interactions of different sound sources that ultimately generate a cohesive, whole sound that equals more than the sum of its parts. He is influenced by John Cage, who spearheaded the use of aleatory in his musical creations in the 1950s. The Vortex uses aleatory of winds and flows of the surrounding environment and the interactive contributions of passersby. Combining the sounds of nature and human touch results in a chaotic harmony
produced by metallic instruments colliding. The wind chimes are tuned to a whole tone scale, and as they ring, they create a never ending spiral of circular notes, which is the source of the work’s title.
Serving as what the artists view as a protective barrier to a UNESCO heritage building, The Vortex symbolizes the true beauty and simplic- ity of the hardscape of the Arabian mountains, and the harmony of frequency caused by not only man, but also by nature. Here, Nature represents its own rhythms through the natural movement of the metal pipes as they oscillate.
Exploring the boundary between public and private space, The Vortexaims to engage audiences by underlining how we experience sound in our daily surroundings. The structure is peculiar, drawing attention from observers and passersby, through which Alshemimry attempts to show that sound is not experienced or produced personally, but that it is a powerful and omnipresent energy that can be experienced in any surrounding, collectively as well as personally.