[Apr 25-27] David Galbraith: Density

Density is a generative installation of abstract animation with six-channel sound based on a vintage mathematics reference text. Reversing the traditional visual music mapping from musical pitch to color hue, Density structures the sonic realm through constraints derived from the visual domain. The animation is created with Galbraith’s custom software which simultaneously generates sound via granular synthesis controlled by the image track, sparking the interplay between image and sound.

[Apr 25-27] David Galbraith: Density

David Galbraith
Friday April 25th 2014, 7pm (Opening)
Sat/Sun, Apr 26/27 2014, 3pm to 7pm (Installation)
Admission: FREE

596 Broadway, #602 | New York, NY 10012 | Phone: 212-431-1130
Subway: F/M/D/B Broadway/Lafayette, R Prince, 6 Bleecker

Density is a single-channel generative video installation of abstract animation with six- channel sound based on the structure and content of a vintage mathematics reference text. Density is about a generative structuring of the sonic realm through constraints derived from the visual domain. This reverses the traditional visual music mapping from musical pitch to color hue. Density’s conceptual background involves composer/ architect Iannis Xenakis who pioneered granular synthesis in music by using probability distribution functions applied to the acoustic orchestra and with magnetic tape techniques. Galbraith’s work directly appropriates the distribution function parameters, tabulated and printed in book form during the time when Xenakis was actively writing, treating them as an open audiovisual score.

Each frame of the animation in Density is created using Galbraith’s custom, real-time software for image and sound. Numbers printed in the 1957 book Tables of the Non- Central T-Distribution: Density Function, Cumulative Distribution Function and Percentage Points were translated into text files that Galbraith’s software reads to to create grid-based animations. The software simultaneously generates sound by communicating with a digital sound synthesizer running a granular sound synthesis patch. The sound grains are determined by visual and spatial aspects of the grid images. Thus the generative spirit of Density is sparked by the interplay between the image and sonic realms.


David Galbraith is a Brooklyn-based artist and composer. Galbraith explores the couplings between art, music, technology and the body through his installations, compositions, sound works, and performances featuring live electronics and custom software. Galbraith completed a single-channel video work using the first version of his custom software for real-time sound and image in 2006. Since then this software has been his primary tool for creating installation, video, and sound works. Galbraith’s work has been presented internationally at P.S.1/MoMA, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, and KW Institute of Contemporary Art (Berlin), among others. Galbraith has performed at Roulette, The Stone, Judson Memorial Church, Pianos, Diapason Sound Art Gallery, Staatsbank Berlin, and the Pro Musica Nova Festival in Bremen, Germany among other venues. A commissioned radio work of his was performed live on WGXC as part of a John Cage centennial program in 2012. Galbraith is a founding member of Analogos, the analog synthesis collective formed in New York in 2004.

This project is made possible in part with public funds from NYSCA’s’ Electronic Media and Film Presentation Funds grant program, administered by The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes (www.NYSCA.org  www.eARTS.org).


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