S t u d i o F i v e B e e k m a n

sound and intermedia gallery



David Behrman

Pen Light

an interactive sound and light installation


2 - 9 PM

April 4 - 25, 1998

"Pen Light" is the newest in a series of pieces in which interactive software-based music, previously made for concert performances by experienced musicians, is presented in an installation version.

The idea of these installations is to give any person a taste of the experience of interactive music-making.

"Pen Light" exists either in an autonomous mode -- in which it runs by itself and is designed just to be watched and listened to -- or in a dialoguing mode, in which it awaits actions on the part of a visitor.

The interaction is based on a light-sensor system which James Lo and David Behrman designed and built together. The system has 16 sensors, each capable of detecting 9 degrees of light intensity.

When no visitor intervenes, the system itself provides bursts of light and puffs of air which excite the light-sensors via small hanging fans and flashlights.

If a visitor begins shining a small flashlight in the direction of the sensors, the system recognizes her presence and shifts from autonomous to dialoguing mode.

The music for "Pen Light" consists of parts of QS and RL, developed from 1993 to 1998 for performance by a musician using a wind instrument.

The software for "Pen Light" is written in "Formula", a language developed by Ron Kuivila and David Anderson.


David Behrman has been active as a composer and electronic artist since the 1960s and has created many works for performance as well as sound installations. Most of his work since the late Seventies has involved computer-controlled music systems, operating interactively with people who may or may not be musically expert. He designs and writes much of the software for these systems.

"Unforeseen Events", "My Dear Siegfried,...", "QSRL", "Leapday Night", "Interspecies Smalltalk", "A Traveller's Dream Journal", "Figure in a Clearing" and "On the Other Ocean" are among Behrman's software-based works for soloists and small ensembles which have been performed by gifted musicians since the mid Nineteen-Seventies. His work has been presented at venues in North America, Japan and Europe, among them the Walker in Minneapolis, the CBC in Toronto, Metronom in Barcelona, the Paris Autumn Festival, Studio 200 in Tokyo and Roulette, Interpretations and the Lincoln Center Summer Festival in New York.

Behrman's sound installations have been exhibited at the Whitney Museum, Ars Electronica in Linz, La Villette Science and Technology Museum in Paris, the Hudson River Museum, the Chicago Art Institute, the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, Mass. and other venues.


For more information:

web site / Lovely Music: www.lovely.com

web site / Musik Texte: www.musiktexte.com / issue 85

web site / Perfect Sound Forever: http://furious.com/perfect/behrman.html

web site / Experimental Intermedia: www.experimentalintermedia.org





information presentations news links