November 2010 Archives

embodied sound documentation

post documentation of your embodied sound presentation

include any of the follow forms that will best communicate the experience of your work and how you created it:

- video of your embodied sound work - especially if you presented it as participatory, performance, or a hybrid experience. [the iMac in W123 has video files of all presentations in a folder on the desktop (thanks to Vanessa for recording).
Use the vlc application to open the video files.vlc.jpg

- photo of the work as you presented it

- drawing or sketch of the whole and/or elements of your embodied sound project

- technical notes that both document the process for you and give others insight into how you approached your embodied sound work

- links to related software, electronics, inspirations, etc.

- questions that you feel are currently unresolved in your embodied sound work at this time or questions that you are interested in pursuing further

Casper Electronics

You can search the purchasable things on here, as well as look at a few tutorials and downloadable modulators. He also has many links and contacts that may prove useful. Really helpful, are all his notes and information about specific pedals, toys, etc. in the "finished pieces" tab.


Sound Artist Links: Animal Collective

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Heres the wiki page for general info about animal collective:

Some works from their film project:

Some of my favorite songs by the collective: (for most of them ignore the video)

Embodied Sound- attempt 1

Don Ritter

Don Ritter is a Canadian artist and writer living in Berlin. He creates interactive installations that become social portraits through the participation of audiences. The content of his work is conveyed to audiences experientially, through the physical actions they perform within the installations. His subject matter includes hegemony, servility, commodification of tragedy, and mechanisms of authority.

find his works here

In his sound installation 'O telephone', six modified 1960's telephones are installed in circle on black pedestals within a darkened room. They randomly ring, each with its own distinctive sound. If you pick up a phone that is ringing, a powerful yoga-like "Om? is heard through the handset and through the speaker located where the dial of the phone used to be.

If other people answer other ringing phones, the resulting "Om? sounds will pan through all the answered phones. Like the ringing, each phone has its own "om" voice, some male, other female. The telephones will eventually begin a composition comprised of the ringing and "Om? sounds if they are not answered by viewers. The best way to enjoy the piece is to stand in the middle of the circle of phones, then it feels like the sounds are turning around you. There are 35 different voices. The artist actually used the voice of the people in his yoga class when he lived in New York.

visit O telephone- here

Ikue Mori

Ikue Mori was born, raised, and lived in Japan until 1977 at which point she came to New York initially on an impermanent basis. Upon her arrival she became a member of the New York experimental music scene as drummer for the band DNA. Having had almost no prior musical training, Mori's arrival, retrospectively, seems rather serendipitous in that the artistic climate at the time had an interest in the results produced by "non-musicians" working in music. After the dissolution of DNA Mori remained in New York beginning her transition toward a more improvisatory approach to performance, as well as working with drum machines. Since then she has been working alone and collaboratively with artists like John Zorn, as well as working with the laptop as an instrument.

Mori with DNA
Mori performance and interview
Mori recording w/ Catherine Janiaux

My interest with Ikue Mori I think comes predominantly from 3 places. One is my background in working with music as an approach to art making, another is my interest in the operation and evolution of artistic movements and communities that exist (at least to an extent) outside of institutional settings, and the last being her work with improvisation. What intrigues me about improvisation is the idea that it can create a certain kind of distance between a piece of work and its author: the idea that one can decide a set of parameters for a project that will dictate the nature of further movements can be liberating in that it puts responsibility for the project on the framework rather than directly on the author. By creating a framework to operate in, individual movements also become less significant because they're continually working within the context of a larger thought. By removing this conceptual weight from individual ideas it allows them to function in almost mechanical ways, but also develop strong personalities when they fit within the larger structure.

electronic supplies


Ax-Man surplus store is like no other. You can find things electronic: wire, leds, motors, switches, buzzers, etc and things non-electronic as well.

1639 University Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55104



..... surplus stuff aka cheaper
Electronic Goldmine - the name says it all. stuff

Adafruit Industries

Spark Fun

piezo discs

here are a couple of sources for piezo discs for contact microphones, vibration/knock sensors, underwater contact microphones, and more:

Electronic Goldmine as piezo discs with and without plastic casing.

Digi-Key sells several diameters of piezo discs.



For my presentation I chose the artist Gerhard Trimpin because I find his merger between physical objects and digital components as both very interesting and in a way creatively inspiring just from possibilities of sound creation that open up considering his approach.

I became interested in his work by what I see how much you can do with the manipulation of physical objects when you add an electrical and digital component. Seeing how it leads the invention of sounds that cannot exist through at least any other practical means is pretty exciting. And I think part of it is the balance he has found between the computer and the sound-making object.

I find Trimpin's invention of the musical instrument that functions beyond what a human being can physically be capable to be one of the more compelling concept behind his work. I also enjoy how he then implements these instruments with technology along with the scale, unfamiliarity and unusuality in both sound and appearance turns these objects from musical instruments into functioning pieces of art.

Trimpin is known for creating sounds exclusively with physical objects but often uses computers to digital construct and control how those physical objects create sounds. He does not work with digitally produced sounds and often uses objects them selves to produce sounds rather then speakers. Trimpin also often creates musical compositions with his invented instruments that simultaneously accompany the exhibited work.

You can see one of his installations in the Minnesota Science Museum. It's a collection of xylophones and other instruments that play to real time data of seismic activity from around the world. You can listen to a sample of this from .

As for other installations the pieces titled Shang high and Liquid Percussion are both pretty good illustrations of Trimpin's sound art. You can see he uses the computer to initiate the action the causes the object to produce noise. In the Shang High installation motors are activated that cause the elevation of the tubes resting in buckets to lower and rise. This act either causes air to push out of the tubes or be sucked in because they are resting in water. This creates the noise you here.

.In Liquid Percussion specific objects for mechanized drips are used each having a specific sound and pitch. The computer controls a nozzle that allows droplets or water in and out in a perfectly timed manner.

Other Instruments and installation: - Fire Organ - Cello Turntable Klompen Guitar Tower clip

For those interested in where some of his ideas came from two of Trimpins stated influences are Conlon Nancarrow and Harry Partch. Conlon Nancarrow was one of the first composures to use an instrument through mechanical means producing a piece of music that could not be played by a human.

The inventor and composer Harry Partch also seems very influential in his work. Harry Parch created a number of instruments that use entirely different tonal systems then we are familiar to such as an instrument that uses an 11 note cycle rather then the 12 we know and would create unique musical compositions with his instruments.

Embodied Sound

When I think of embodied sound, I think of the sounds and silences hidden within an object. The conceptual piece that best informed my current understanding of embodied sound was Bill Fontana's "Harmonic Bridge." I appreciate embodied sound as those sounds that are not explicit, but can be coaxed out of materials into a more palpable experience. When we experiment with circuit bending, I see that as another form of releasing those embodied sounds suppressed by the original design of the circuit. I think of almost everything as having an embodied sound quality. An artists' manipulation of sound is an interaction that brings out these embodied sounds, but because of my connotation of the word "embody," I think of these sounds as being inherent of the object.

Embodied Sound - Sam

In thinking about embodied sound I started thinking about the act of embodying sound and what it means to give a body to sound, or for it to have a body. What kinds of objects contain sound? What kinds of objects make sound? What kinds of objects are just a jar of peanut butter? I started thinking about the idea of a sonic object and what it could be: records and CD's and tapes contain sound; trombones, guitars, and drums make sound. But what about a box fan or a vacuum: objects with distinct sonic properties that are sometimes used for these properties in lieu of their intended functions? Finding what might happen if you mash a variety of sonic objects together has sparked my interest.

links to sound artists



Stephen Wilson's links include a sound installation category

Embodied Sound inspirations

some artists whose work shapes our understanding of embodied sound:

Nic Collins
and his fantastic video tutorials (best viewed via safari)

Ed Osborn
... installations

Paul De Marinis

Kitundu makes some unusual instruments including his Ocean Edge Device

Christian Marclay

Tim Kaiser

circuit bending

a video intro to circuit bending here .. tools processes, etc.

A visual step by step guide to building an incantor- transforming a speak and spell.

getlofi provides lots of inspiration, technical tips, and resources.

Circuit bending duo Beatrix•Jar guide you through their process - diy circuit bent instruments - offers tips on which toys to buy, guide to soldering .... and performing their magic

Reed Ghazala
offers a how to guide to circuit bending and introduces you to some of the electronic components.

sound sketch contact mike


the aching swing set...

Contact Mic Clip

Contact mic sounds

Ice Sounds

The sounds explored in the Apostle Islands Bike expedition make sound a fundamental element of the experience. I appreciated the comprehensive information about the piece including the motivation for, insights in the midst of the process in journal entries as well as safety tips, etc. The online presentation of this initiative was a way to make this solitary experience public. The photographs were phenomenal in themselves, but I found it interesting that they appeared probably less spectacular in the setting of an online internet sharing site since we are so often bombarded by stock piled images on flickr, google images, etc, that any online photographs somehow seem less authentic than in a gallery setting... I was glad for the pure sounds rather than video or some photo montage, however I found myself wishing that the interface of the playback of these recordings was a black screen rather than a typical play screen, because the sounds were so foreign and unlike a typical thing one might find on youtube.
After this I am most interested in sound as an experience, as well as the particularities of online presentation of work.