The Helios project

helios pic1 Helios 3A sonification installation of visceral beauty, power and rhythm.

This is an idea I have wanted to do for some time and was realised as an ‘Enchanted Parks’, Gateshead commission at the end of 2014 with great response. 

This monumental piece of laboratory equipment represents a curved slice of the sun animated with flame. Adapted for modern technology,    Helios can be controlled directly by data supplied by NASA or from drum and midi programs to produce constantly evolving beat patterns and loops. Coronal mass ejections thump and screech as filigrees of flame roll and pulse across a twenty metre arc of steel apparatus.

Helios consist of over 50 individual propane gas flame heads of varying sizes and effect, is capable of running constantly for hours and is our imposing and exciting new work for 2015.

Now for a bit of geek stuff:

I have designed a sub program in MAX to run along side Ableton Live to decode data from NASA or any other audio or analogue input to create MIDI notes, which then control the rig. I can now play this flaming monster like a delicate instrument and open up the controls to the audience through Wii, XBOX 360 and iPAD.

Helios2cropRGB

Photo: Richard Kenworthy  Enchanted Parks 2014 – co-commissioned by NewcastleGateshead Initiative and Gateshead Council and produced by Pinwheel.

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