[ISEA2020] Artist Statement: Mo H Zareei — Material Music

Artist Statement

Tags: Object-Based, Sound Art, Sound Sculpture

Material Music is an installation developed in an effort to underscore the significance of physical materiality within the field of object-based sound art. The work consists of a linear array of eight kinetic sound- sculptures, each of which is comprised of an electromechanically-struck block of solid matter.

While all eight units are identical in terms of design and functionality, they each utilize a different type of physical material. At the start of the piece, two actuators begin to strike the material blocks synchronously, at the rate of once per second. With every pulse, the left and right actuation instances in each sound-sculpture are offset based on an ever-growing delay time unit that is derived from the speed of sound travelling through the specific material type. As the piece develops, the accumulating delay times gradually shift the actuation pulses out of phase.

With the passing of time, the delay offsets become more and more audible and visible, producing rhythmic patterns that morph in and out of phase across all eight sound sculptures. In this way, Material Music is a process-based composition that interlocks a steady pulse with ever-changing phasing audiovisual patterns that themselves derive from the very essence of the constituent audio/visual materials.

  • Mo H. Zareei is an Iranian sound artist and researcher based in New Zealand. Using custom-built software and hardware, his work aims to highlight the beauty in the basics of sound and light production and reductionist audiovisual elements that draw inspiration from physical and architectural principles. He has presented his work at venues such as SETxCTM (Tehran), ISEA (Vancouver), NZ Festival (Wellington), and NIME (London), to name a few. His installation “Rasping Music” was the winner of 1st prize for Sound Art in the last iteration of the international Sonic Arts Award in 2015 (Italy). Zareei releases his electronic music projects under the moniker mHz. His records have been published on Important Records (US), leerraum (CH), and Kasuga Records (DE). He holds a BS in Physics from Shahid Beheshti University of Tehran, a BFA in Music Technology from California Institute of the Arts, and a PhD from Victoria University of Wellington, where he is a lecturer in Sonic Arts. millihertz.net