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Love Under Pressure - 2018
Mediums and Methods
Found items, microcontroller, recorded audio media, software in c++
Love Under Pressure, a piece I envisioned and created with my longtime collaborator, Jonas Nash, for a love-themed Group Show at Portland's Ford Gallery, is an example of a simple object's ability to express profound feeling. We used a large mid-century vintage pressure cooker with the iconic domed top and pressure gauge and into it installed a surface transducer (a speaker without the cone attached which is incapable of making sound on its own), a Teensy microcontroller with included SD card with recorded audio files of the human heartbeat, and a small amplifier to excite the transducer. The piece was displayed on a gallery pedestal at chest height and when activated the vibrations of a human heartbeat are communicated through the transducer and into the heavy body of the pressure vessel. The effect is audibly subtle, barely perceivable against normal social room noise, but upon placing your hands on either side of the vessel the effect is more profound and physiologically surprising. Along with the juxtaposition of cold hard metal with the warm comfort of the vibration of life arises the unexpected effect of being able to 'hear' the heartbeat in the loudest of environments but only so long as your hands are in physical contact with it. This perception was not expected or planned but shared by everyone who interacted with it. Those who remained in contact with the piece for longer reported feeling their own heartbeat slowing and becoming relaxed while synchronizing with the pulse rate of the object.