10-01-2015

Bristol Building a Bridge-Bow

Can we dong, pluck or twang a suspension rod on Clifton Suspension Bridge?

Di came back from Omaha bursting with ideas, envisaging a completely new system for playing Clifton Suspension Bridge that would be a combination of a mechancial player, controlled from the walkway by a long cable which could spin a rotating device to pluck the hanger, and a digital interface which would capture the resulting sounds and enable the player (or ‘Movician’) to manipulate the sounds produced (eg.: reverb, pitch or volume) via rectractable cord. Di presented a sketch of the interface to the engineers at Arup’s Bristol Office and began working with engineer Roland Trim to develop the first prototypes. The first prototype was tested on the bridge in December 2014.

“During the Roundhouse Residency, I realised that we were only at the beginning of our journey. We had(the Digi-Bow)┬áthat would allow its players to sculpt sound in creative ways. However there was a huge gap in our knowledge surrounding the physics of the bridge and the way in which sound would travel through suspension rods and cables. The beauty of the Omaha residency was that every day was spent outside on the bridge meeting specialists who understood physics and sound. The result being the development of our mechanical Bridge-Bow…” Di Mainstone