As part of her recent body of work, Florence To has developed a custom sound instrument as part of a progressive performance which examines psychoacoustics in architectural spaces.
The acoustic instrument, named CYEMA, is made from gongs repurposed and reconstructed from old clocks and is played using a bow. Built in 2017, it has been a key element of a progressive performance, wherein the gongs resonate in architectural spaces, creating a dialogue between the space and the frequencies which is expanded through the intervention of software. CYEMA can be heard in the soundtrack to To’s digital animation OCM 1, which is available on Sedition and is part of To’s OCM series, which uses 3D modelling techniques to explore the artist’s relationship to architectural space.
The conceptual origin of the instrument was a desire to visualise psychic processes. To sought to find ways of creating a story and a procedure simultaneously, stimulating emotional responses and physical sensations while revealing the mechanisms for doing so. It was partially developed at SpADE (The Spatialization and Auditory Display Environment) and has performed at LABoral Centro de Arte in Gijon and the Southbank Centre in London.
Following her SpADE residency, To has plans to develop a more elaborate installation with CYEMA in 2018 which will involve patching different sonic levels to a custom Pure Data matrix. By doing so, To seeks to increase perceptual awareness of specific spaces and of the sounds the instrument is able to produce.