Pendula (2015)     


An Immersive audio-visual installation.

Pendula involves both hardware and software controls to process visuals and sound through the use of gestural data from each swing. Each swing contains a 3-axis gyroscope, which sends orientation values via Arduino board to Max/MSP. The orientation values from each swing are translated to OSC messages that are mapped out to discrete visual controls on Resolume Arena VJ software. The magnitude of swinging motions are reflected in the resulting visual effects that are generated. The combination of visual effects generated by all swings are outputted as one image that is displayed from four projectors.

Photo by Timothy Nguyen

Photo by Timothy Nguyen

Pendula premiered at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival outside of the Vancouver Art Gallery in 2015, and has been installed for New Forms Festival’s 2016 edition, and presented at New Interfaces for Musical Expression Conference in Brisbane, Australia 2016

Arduino Hardware

Arduino Hardware

Max/MSP patch used to program installation and performance

Max/MSP patch used to program installation and performance

Artistic Context

As digital worlds proliferate and intrude upon physical and social spaces, agency and power become moving targets that evade traditional definition and conventional understandings. The features of Pendula explores the awareness of this growing ambiguity and invites the participation of individuals into initiating an ever-shifting environment where the polarities of subject/object, individual/collective, motion/idleness, chaos/harmony, and human/technology are transformed into spectrums of constant duality.

The participant will negotiate their own space through movements and levels of awareness of their environment. This negotiation allow participants to embody the collective movement of the entire piece as the audio-visual environment reflects the combination of how all participants bring social and spatial habits into the realm of a technologically responsive space.

Pendula at New Forms Festival 2016. Photo by Timothy Nguyen.

Pendula at New Forms Festival 2016. Photo by Timothy Nguyen.

Testing at Chinatown loft in Vancouver

Testing at Chinatown loft in Vancouver

Pendula Performance

In addition to an installation, Pendula was created as a performance environment and the swings were programmed as a musical instrument.

The concert presentation of this environment involved real-time processing of the in-performance sounds of cello, clarinet, tabla, and bansuri, with the control of the audio and visual media by the choreography developed using the varying gestures within the lexicon. Mapping of gesture types with audio/visual processes were chosen to create intuitive usability analogous to other instruments’ performance designs. For instance, the increase in pitch of a bell sequence is similar to performing a string instrument - as a hand plays up the neck of the instrument, the pitch increases. This logic was also applied to the mapping of pitch shift and increase in the dry/wet mix of delay. Similarly, the spatialization effect was mapped to the spin gesture because the spinning motion of the swing seat reflected the way sound traveled around the four speakers.


Choreography Development

The objective was to develop new innovative ways to interact with the swing beyond conventional forward and backward seated swinging motions. Dance phrases were developed using different body parts including the back of hands, arms, thighs, and abdomen as contact points to trigger different gestures for the swing seat. Audio/visual processes were generated through intuitive dance phrases that produced the best range of data while performing compelling gestures

Creative Team

Creators ~ Kiran Bhumber and Nancy Lee


Neelamjit Dhillon ~ Tabla and Bansuri

Clara Schandler ~ Cello

Kiran Bhumber ~ Clarinet & Electronics

Nancy Lee ~ Swings

Brian Topp ~ Audio Tech

Laine Butler ~ Visual Tech

For More Information

To Read more about the research and development of this project, please view our paper in the proceedings of New Interfaces of Musical Instruments 2016 here