Spectral Diffractions by Edwin van der Heide - Fundació Mies van der Rohe

Spectral Diffractions by Edwin van der Heide

The sound installation “Spectral Diffractions”, by Dutch artist Edwin van der Heide, is part of a collaborative project between Sónar+D, Fundació Mies van der Rohe and the Music Technology Group of Universitat Pompeu Fabra and the Fundació EINA. This collaboration aims to bring together music technology students with internationally renowned artists for submiting advanced sound proposals from a technological and aesthetic point of view, in the unique context of the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion.

“Spectral Diffractions” consist of a system of 40 loudspeakers located over the pavilion’s roof and independently playing the different partial frequencies present in the sound of a human voice. When listening to these partial frequencies separately they don’t seem to come from a human voice (the same way the colors of the rainbow doesn’t make us think of white light). But the highly resounding nature of the pavilion’s materials will enable the visitor to listen to different superpositions of these simple sound waves and, while moving through the space, they get engaged in these new perspectives originating from the original voice sounds.

Edwin van der Heide explains his art work in the following terms: “When we describe and analyze sounds we can separate a sound in its individual overtones. This implies a hierarchy between sound and overtones. ‘Spectral Diffractions’ is a proposal for autonomous overtone control and attempts to reverse this hierarchy. Overtones (or partials) are being approached as independent entities that can dynamically form certain relationships but also have an autonomous or ‘in between’ state. A certain relationship of overtones can correspond to the overtones of a certain (recognizable or concrete) sound and therefore lead to its corresponding perception. However since the overtones are autonomous this should be seen as a temporary state with a specific order of the overtones that can be developing in any kind of direction and new possible order of overtones. Reversing the hierarchy between sound and overtones will lead to a level of control where the morphing of sound becomes an inherent quality of the sound synthesis. Each overtone not only has its independent frequency and amplitude it also has its individual location is space. Overtones can group together but also can ‘exploded in space’ each in its own direction.”

Curated by Lluís Nacenta. Sound research collaboration by Antonio Sa Pinto

Visiting schedule: “Spectral Diffractions” at Pavelló Mies van der Rohe:

Wednesday 11th June: 10-20h
Thursday 12th June: 10-20h
Friday 13th June: 10-20h
Saturday 14th June: 10-17h

Free access with Sónar by Day tickets, accreditation holders or Sónar Pass.
General public: 5 €
Students: 2,60 €
Children under 16: free



11 de juny de 2014 – 14 de juny de 2014

Organised with

Fundació Mies Barcelona
Music Technology Group (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)
Fundació EINA


Mies van der Rohe Pavilion

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