Surface Tension is based on a central metaphor — the behavior of water when an object is dropped into it. This brief, mundane event is expanded to a timescale long enough to reveal distinct components of its narrative: the impact on the surface is creation; the propagation of the wave is exploration and growth; the distortion of its shape as it hits rocks and boundaries is turmoil and conflict; the dissipation to stillness is peace, resolution. The inspiration for this theme comes from the contemplative, meditative nature of gazing upon a body of water that is still as a mirror, and the impact of it being set into motion.
The musical content of this piece follows a new compositional form. Rather than relying on traditional tonality, this piece will use individual intervals, beginning with a single pitch and finally arriving at an open fifth. Each interval (unison/octave, 2nd/7th, 3rd/6th, 4th/5th) will correspond with one section of the piece and will be the only interval heard in that section. This form creates a sense of direction and development that serves as a musical interpretation of the wave metaphor.
Surface Tension is an installation presented over a circular ambisonic loudspeaker array to immerse the audience in the physical form of the wavefront.
It was on display at the Alterspace in August 2014.