Arts & culture, Performing arts

Lights, music, seismology launch Campanile centennial celebration

By Public Affairs


Lights and etherealmusic met history, technology and seismology Tuesday night in the kickoff to the Campaniles centennial celebration, as the iconic tower at the center of campus became, for 30 memorable minutes, the center of attention as well.

Those 30 minutes came in the form of three 10-minute performancesthat observers standing, sitting or lying on their backs by the Bancroft Library couldsee, hear andcapture on smartphones.As the Campaniles north and west walls took turns flashing a dazzling white light beneathovercast skies and a full moon, the campus reverberated with the music of recorded and live bells, the entire show modulated in real time by data from the UC Berkeley seismometer inside the nearby Hayward Fault.

Ken Goldberg and crowd

Ken Goldberg (right, in wool cap), an artist, professor and co-founder of the Berkeley Center for New Media, breaks down the idea and the technology behind Tuesdaysinstallation and performance. (UC Berkeley photo by Keegan Houser)

The installation a collaboration that involved the Berkeley Center for New Media, the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies, the Department of Music, the UC Berkeley Seismological Laboratory and Meyer Sound, under the leadership of BCNMs Greg Niemeyer and Ken Goldberg, CNMATs Ed Campion and the Seismo Labs Peggy Hellweg bore the title Natural Frequencies, a reference to the response of structures and systems to external forces.

Based on real-time seismological data, lights pulsed at varying intensities and synthesized bells rang out in three 10-minute stretches to thelive, otherworldly accompaniment ofUniversity Carillonist Jeff Davis and graduate student Tiffany Ng.

To samplethe evenings festivities, see the short video above. The full, 10-minute performance is here.