"DOCUMENTATION '86-'91" was a video compilation by Gordon Monahan.


VHS cover detail

It contained films from the installations and performances Speaker Swinging, Aquaeolian Whirlpool, Long Aeolian Piano, A Magnet That Speaks Also Attracts and Aquaelion Music Room.

Aquaeolian Whirlpool (1990, 5:00)
Documentary of a sound installation at the New York Hall of Science using a 10 feet high water vortex to activate aquaeolian tones on 100 feet long piano strings attached to a soundboard near the ceiling. The unearthly sub-acqueous tones accompany dramatic video close-ups of the vortex, looking like a tornedo in some alien landscape.

Speaker Swinging (1987, 7:20)
A music video depicting Gordon Monahan's monumental sound experiment for swinging loudspeakers. Three performers swing loudspeakers on 12 feet long cables to create dramatic Doppler shifts as Monahan transmits complex oscillating waves through the speakers. In this video collaboration with art director Bruce Mau, Monahan's dramatic lighting in performance is brought to a new level on video, as light trails follow the paths of the speakers, graphically linking the performance concept to both the atomic and the celestial.

Long Aeolian Piano (1986, 8:00)
An upright piano is used as a contact point for acoustic amplification of aeolian tones produced on 100 feet long piano wires. Erected in a park in downtown Edmonton, Alberta, this public-access sculpture creates a complex music using atmospheric phenomena to demonstrate that seemingly synthetic sounds can be created without the aid of modern technology.

A Magnet That Speaks Also Attracts (1986, 8:00)
A mechanical performing sculpture, that is part medieval weapon system and part modern audio system, was installed in a window display at Toronto's Union Station in 1986. This work examines the loudspeaker as a magnetic projectile capable of imitating most sounds in the human audio spectrum. A catapult to be blasted off again. The sound heard over the speakers are pseudo-space musics from the 1959 vinyl season. The video documents the kinetic aspects of the piece as well as social reactions of passers-by.

Aquaelion Music Room (1991, 4:00)
100 feet long wires are anchored into the Wupper River in Wuppertal, Germany. The flowing of water over the wires creates aquaelion tones on the strings, which are amplified by contact to aluminium sheets besides the river.

VHS, PAL, color, 1991

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