Cathenge was selected by the San Francisco Arts Commission for Placement at Patricia’s Green park in the Hayes Valley neighborhood of San Francisco (Octavia and Fell Streets). The installation is to be installed later this year (2021) or early next year. Here are a few images showing design of the installation. Stay tuned for more details and work in progress posts here on the Cathenge website.
This 3D printed Catolith prototype “Kittolith”. Printed by Christopher Christensen. This prototype features motion activated interactive purring by Theremin Barney. Ultimately, we settled on touch sensitivity through “Capacitive Sensing” as the mechanism of interactivity for the large Catoliths at Cathenge, Black Rock City 2019.
The effect I’d like to achieve with the Catoliths is similar to a set of windchines. Motion detection creates the chiming of the Catoliths. Each cat has an infrared sensor mounted in its chin and facing downward. This creates a cone of interactivity wherein a visitor to Cathenge will hear the cats “intone” their respective notes. Additionally, triggering one cat will trigger notes in the other cats (ideally, this is a random or semi-random pattern).
Thanata = 396hz = DO = Tonic C = Saturn
Fortuna = 417hz = RE = D = Jupiter
Lyrata = 528hz = MI = E = Mars
Erotica = 639hz = FA = F = Earth
Lunata = 741 = SO = G = Venus
Solara = 852 = TI = A = Mercury
The above equivalencies connect each catolith to a specific solfeggio frequency. Above (396 – 852) is the solfeggio scale used in Gregorian chanting.
Because planets with larger eccentricities have a greater variation in speed they produce more “notes.” Earth’s maximum and minimum speeds, for example, are in a ratio of roughly 16 to 15, or that of a semitone, whereas Venus’ orbit is nearly circular, and therefore only produces a singular note. Mercury, which has the largest eccentricity, has the largest interval, a minor tenth, or a ratio of 12 to 5. This range, as well as the relative speeds between the planets, led Kepler to conclude that the Solar System was composed of two basses (Saturn and Jupiter), a tenor (Mars), two altos (Venus and Earth), and a soprano (Mercury), which had sung in “perfect concord,” at the beginning of time, and could potentially arrange themselves to do so again.
Musica universalis (literally universal music), also called Music of the spheres or Harmony of the Spheres, is an ancient philosophical concept that regards proportions in the movements of celestial bodies—the Sun, Moon, and planets—as a form of musica (the Medieval Latin term for music). This “music” is not usually thought to be literally audible, but a harmonic, mathematical or religious concept.
The idea continued to appeal to thinkers about music until the end of the Renaissance, influencing scholars of many kinds, including humanists. Further scientific exploration has determined specific proportions in some orbital motion, described as orbital resonance. – Ref: Wikipedia
Sit, Jessica. Look how the floor of heaven
Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold:
There’s not the smallest orb which thou behold’st
But in his motion like an angel sings,
Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubins;
Such harmony is in immortal souls;
But whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.
– Shakespeare, “The Merchant of Venice“