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Tim Durfee Studio

Tim Durfee Studio

Los Angeles, CA

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photograph by Oscar QiYuan Li
photograph by Oscar QiYuan Li
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12/8 Tower

Tim Durfee and Andrew Kragness, amp  - at Media Design Practices / Art Center College of Design

Project team: Daisy Bao, Elaine Cheung, Katie Duffy, Margo Dunlap, Jay Hong, Leah Horgan, Qing Yi Li, Morgan Marzec, Faith Oftadeh, Shan Shen, Inae Song

VIDEO (by Elaine Cheung)  //  1972 Performance of Steve Reich's Clapping Music  //  Media Design Practices MFA, Art Center College of Design

12/8 Tower is an experiment in the integration of media – in this case music – and architecture. We started by studying composer Steve Reich’s seminal early work Clapping Music (1972). Set in 12/8 time, Clapping Music has two performers repeat the same rhymical motif, with one of the performers eventually offsetting the sequence one eighth note beat at a time. The piece concludes when the shift has occurred 12 times, thus restoring the synchrony of the two performers.

We also investigated two precedents – the bell tower and the pipe organ. The bell tower is an architectural form that both houses the physical instrument of a carillon and serves as multi-directional “speaker” for the acoustical broadcast of the chimes. A concert organ has pipes which – due to their variety of size (large for low frequencies, small for high) – have inherent physical qualities that can be composed to produce form (as with the organ at Gehry’s Disney Concert Hall, for example.) 

The idea of this project was to collapse the “bell tower” and “pipe organ” conceptually to the point where the physical form of the tower itself is the “pipes” (in this case, panels to be struck to make a “clap” for Reich’s piece.) With this logic in mind, we used Steve Reich’s musical score as an architectural drawing, informing us of both the rhythm of each row of clapping panels, but also of the offset as the rows ascend to eventually match the original pattern at the top. 

While this structure is currently a test of the translation from the rhythmical “architecture” of Reich’s piece to the physical architecture of a tower (with each row having exactly 12 panels (one per beat), the second iteration will transform the tower into a performing musical box, in which the white panels will be equipped with servo-driven mallets to produce a “clap” and the dark panels (without mallets) as “rests.” As it performs, 1 row will “clap” the repeated rhythm and every other row will clap its respective pattern in an ascending sequence until the piece is complete, at the top of the tower.

The 12/8 Tower was developed and built as part of a four-week workshop taught by Tim Durfee and Andrew Kragness in the Media Design Practices MFA program at Art Center College of Design. 

 
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Status: Built
Location: Wind Tunnel Gallery, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California
My Role: Principal, with Andrew Kragness
Additional Credits: Photography by QiYuan Li “Oscar”
Video of 12/8 Tower by Elaine Cheung

Wind Tunnel Gallery, Media Design Practices (MDP), Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA

Installation by: Tim Durfee & Andrew Kragness, amp
Project team: Daisy Bao, Elaine Cheung, Katie Duffy, Margo Dunlap, Jay Hong, Leah Horgan, Qing Yi Li, Morgan Marzec, Faith Oftadeh, Shan Shen, Inae Song

Photography by QiYuan Li "Oscar"
Video by Elaine Cheung

 
photograph by Oscar QiYuan Li
photograph by Oscar QiYuan Li
photograph by Oscar QiYuan Li
photograph by Oscar QiYuan Li
photograph by Oscar QiYuan Li
photograph by Oscar QiYuan Li
photograph by Oscar QiYuan Li
photograph by Oscar QiYuan Li
photograph by Faith Oftedeh
photograph by Faith Oftedeh

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