Stretch – Making of


Sound is a highly flexible medium by nature.
Contemporary sound design tools allow us to transmogrificate any given sound source into a sonic palette that is at the same time eclectic and coherent in itself.

Stretch is a sound piece conceived for the exhibition “Flexibility – Design in a fast-changing society” (Torino World Design Capital 2008) that was totally prepared from the acoustic recording of a single sound, the sound of a piano string being struck, stretched to its limit.

Since Cage that all sound in music became free, something that is a constant source of inspiration and worth celebrating. Choosing the piano string symbolizes in a certain way the moment of being freed from a conventional stigma, piano being the icon of western music associated to a language (writing) that is not its own medium (sound).

This piece was developed with the production of a metal structure, a sort of industrial musical arch, directly welded to a metal acoustic box approximately 9 meters high. This structure allowed the exertion on the piano string of a progressive increase in longitudinal tension, besides amplifying the sound of the string, both in time and audible harmonics.

It was the beginning of a process that lasted two days and saw the repetition of a cycle: striking -> recording -> watching sound qualities -> tensioning.

During the recording, the string eventually broke free and snapped. The sound resulting from the last strike before the string snapped, i.e. its last sonic moment, provided the sound source for the sonic palette used in this piece.

The palette was created through a lab process aiming at finding the maximum possible variations in terms of sonic morphology, allowing the creation of a one-hour piece, with 5 different structural moments, and conceived in order to be visited with no narrative imposition. Sounds that reflect intermolecular sound, tension, limit, physicality.

Originally conceived to occupy a corridor at an ancient prison in Torino, on a 7.1 speaker matrix, providing a support and a complement to the narrative of the exhibition on design and flexibility. Stretch was afterwards adapted to be exhibited on the Red Bull House of Art in São Paulo, on a 5.1 radial speaker matrix.