Paul Panhuysen
Collection: Acoustic architecture – Architectural acoustics

‘Solar skimmer octette’ is a spatial manuscript in the form of a rectangular box of varnished plywood, which when closed measures 7 by 32 by 44 cm.
The box is divided into two equal halves, can be opened with a piano hinge like a book and can be closed with two box fasteners at the front. The contents consist of 8 light metal skimmers, which are hung on hooks in the box, and a small sheet of plywood in the shape of an equilateral triangle, affixed to which are 8 wooden blocks with solar cells, audio circuits with memory chips and LEDs. On the underside of this sheet are 8 wires to which piezo discs with crocodile clips have been soldered. When this work is assembled and installed, the solar cells generate energy and the circuits produce audio signals.
The piezos then function as loudspeakers and the skimmers as resonators. The sides of the box and the space then reflect the sound and the LEDs give a modest light show.
A small motor allows the manuscript to turn two revolutions a minute. The motor, the sun or other light source and the position of the solar cells together form the score of this composition. Instruments, musicians and music have been brought together and encapsulated in ‘Solar skimmer octette’.