Day 55 – ‘So quiet you can hear a pin drop’

A group of about thirty people perform this piece in a concert hall or large space of some sort. Each person has a set of pins to drop. First one of the thirty drop a pin, then two of the thirty, then three etc. right up to all thirty performers dropping a pin at the same time. This series then takes place again expect this time every performer drops two pins. This would perhaps go on to the point where each person was dropping four pins together simultaneously (the dropping of the pins would happen every two seconds so for the whole ensemble to do four rounds of pin dropping, adding an extra pin each time, would take four minutes).

While the pin dropping is going on a mic is recording the ambience of the room. The recording device has a ducker or noise gate in operation that means it mutes/reduces the recording volume whenever a sound over a certain level is made. At the end of the pin dropping this recording is amplified and played back into the space. The audience would hear the process of the pin droppings from the beginning but this time they would hear what they had initially perceived as the silence (i.e. the room ambience) as ‘noise’ whilst the pin droppings would produce short bursts of ‘silence’ that break up the ambient recording.

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