Frank Spigner

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SAW Residency Proposal


For my residency at SAW, I would like to focus primarily on a series of collaborative pieces with Jim Gallagher, which involves the combination of sculpted and blown glass forms with the use of homemade electronic components and circuitry to create sonic and kinetic elements emanating from the glass forms. Many of these pieces involves the use of electromagnetic mechanisms created with inductors, ferromagnetic cores, and sound sources from oscillators or internal feedback mechanisms through the sculptures to propagate acoustic resonances through the glass forms. The result would be sonified glass forms that somewhat resemble deconstructed speakers. The second idea concerns the use of tiny LEDs which will be soldered onto metalized glass forms, essentially turning the sculpture into a kind of circuit board that produces mysterious shapes and colors of lights under certain conditions.


The first idea, is based on creating a resonant glass form with electromagnetic drivers, allowing for vibrations to propagate through the glass form, a little bit like a deconstructed speaker or transducer built into a glass form…

The following are possible shapes, not necessarily intended to be strictly adhered to, but as starting ideas that describe the aesthetic and functional properties for use in sonic/vibrational applications. The first form is a simple flat disc with a quasi-spherical, yolk-like protrusion  that is slightly offset from the center, which will have the electronic components enclosed (may include ring magnets, ferrous cores, inductor coils). An image of possible components can be found below.

The second form is a kind of freeform piece with a concave projection, again with the glass enclosure for the electronics.

The third form involves a series of inset elliptical and circular parabolas with a sphere in the center for the electronics, allowing for the isolation of certain resonant frequencies to allow a greater range of harmonic material.

The second idea for this collaboration involves metalizing the surface of a glass sculpture with copper and then soldering tiny LED SMDs (Light emitting diode surface mount devices) onto the surface of the sculpture. The LED would have to be laying across a thin channel in which there is no copper, so that one side is copper that is ground (0 VDC) and the other side of the LED is soldered to a copper surface with a low positive voltage (~ 2-3VDC). There would then be two terminals located somewhere on the sculpture that a battery (or possibly solar cell or a jack going to an AC to DC wall adapter so the sculpture can be plugged into a wall outlet) can be attached to.

(Below: SMD LEDs @ 0, 1, and 3 volts)

As a demonstration, I’ve included documentation of an old glass piece I made at SAW with copper tape and a few LED SMDs soldered onto it. The video is me showing the lights being turned on and off. The prototype is just made with five LEDs for demonstration purposes, but ideally in the finished piece, I would have many LEDs lined up perfectly, so the viewer would only interpret it as a single line or channel that is lit up (or any other figure or contour, produced by the proximity and density of illuminated particles). Another idea I had using this LED system could be to make drinking glasses that makes use of the fluid in the cup to complete the circuit, causing the LEDs to light up, and then when the contents of the vessel has been depleted, the circuit is broken, causing the glass to return to its darkened state. Or the LED idea can be used in conjunction with the first sound sculpture idea.

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