photo-theremin

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Hey this is a neat little project that I tried building for this class. I was initially going to use it in my site sound project as a way to record the visual information obtained when riding the bus at night, but it's not quite sophisticated enough for that. But, I still think it's a fun experiment. Check it out:

Photo-theremin by Forrest Mims for Radioshack, 1976.

Reflections on anechoic chamber

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The trip to the anechoic chamber was one of the highlights of this class. I loved having the experience of sitting in the room all by myself, something which was somewhat meditative except that tiny little details such as the light from the camera would become major distractions. I also loved spying on people with the infrared camera as they had their individual moment in the room.

Some pictures (I'll remove these pictures if the subject prefers not to have them online, just let me know.)

anechoic sz.jpg
anechoic sz2.jpg
anechoic sl.jpg
anechoic sl2.jpg

bakken entry and embodied sound

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In addition to my original post reflecting on the Bakken trip, some notes about how it relates to embodied sound:

I found the early scientific and medical explorations of the body and electricity really interesting. From the models in storage that would be filled with salt water and have nodes and wires attached to them as a way to map how electricity moved through the body to the more modern statement of praise of electro-shock therapy that was on display in one of the exhibits. I just think it's fascinating that while many of the properties and characteristics of electricity have been figured out, much of why it works particularly in the body remains mysterious. That's an idea to explore for a future embodied sound.

artist presentation

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Pietro Riparbelli and Massimo Bartolini.

I presented on these artists because I was initially interested in a piece that Bartolini had helped construct of a giant theremin that monitored audience interaction with a painting:
beyond entropy.jpg
Beyond Entropy

I found it hard to find information about him, so I turned to another artist whom he regularly collaborates with, Pietro Riparbelli. Riparbelli is an Italian artist and philosopher interested in phenomenology and perception and the visible/invisible landscape that can be explored through sound. He has done recordings of the ionosphere (as have others), but the pieces of his that I found most interesting were recordings that he made of ancient gothic churches in Italy. I liked how he thought of these places as sites to be explored, as sites of immense invisible energy, and potential. I was reminded of both Alvin Lucier's piece "I am Sitting in a Room" and some of our course readings about the role of field recordings.

An example of one of the church recordings

Some other work he does.

I think I was drawn to his work because I was having a hard time conceiving an idea for the site-sound project and so much of his work is based on a particular site, whether physical or not. As I reflect on this though, I don't know that I'm really inspired by this artist beyond this assignment. I should have taken more time to find someone whom I felt more of a connection to beyond a particular assignment. I think now I know that I appreciate more conceptual motivation behind a work, something a bit more innovative perhaps? Or maybe just something that exists beyond sound? I'm not quite sure.

Independent Project

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My independent project was an experiment integrating sound into other work that I do. I am interested in exploring the performative in everyday behavior and using long exposure photography as a remnant and document. For this project, I integrated sound recordings as a document as well. I think that, by far, this was my most successful project this semester.

IMG_5089 document.JPG

There were two photographs hung in the room with a corresponding set of headphones and media player. Each photograph was created over the duration of one night-- exposure ranging from 6-8 hours. One was of me sleeping, the other of me trying to finish a research paper the night before the deadline. While the photo was being taken, a recording was made simultaneously. The audio players next to the photographs play the full, unedited recordings.

I had initially planned on editing down a more finished, consumable product from the original recordings. Yet, as I reviewed them, I found myself waiting for something to happen, trying to find patterns, wanting to stop listening, ending up really appreciating the recordings after hours of listening and committing myself. I did not want to spoil them. So, for easy sharing I chose one excerpt from the sleeping recording to play for the class that I felt exemplified the whole. I also tried to edit together a piece that would represent the narrative of the working piece.

Sleeping:
sleeping 3-02.wav

Working:
working-02.wav

Some things I found exciting about this project:
-How the amount of visual information did not correspond equally with the amount of aural information.
-Patterns, especially in the sleeping piece. How breathing patterns would only become noticeable after a loud truck passing or other noise. How this seems to correspond with the stillness of the photograph.
-How failure, the theme of the working piece, is evident in the photograph's underexposure.
-How nerve-wracking it is to me to listen to myself work.

Contact Mic recordings

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contact mic and a whoopie cushion:
contact mic whoopie.WAV

contact mic on the bus:
contact mic on bus.WAV

another contact mic on the bus:
contact mic on bus 2.WAV

Embodied Sound

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This was a project that I had some fun with. I wanted to take the idea of embodied sound and use the physical body but allow participants to determine how much of their body would be employed. One could be completely detached, or one could be all-in. I liked the idea of a communal art project where the audience would determine the experience from my framework; this is an idea that I think a lot about in terms of studio art classes that also are founded in this you get out what you put in kind of arrangement.

For this project, people were to partner up with another classmate and share a contact mic and mini-amp. People would serve themselves food, like real comfort food, not costco snacks. As they were eating, they were supposed to explore the sounds of the food, of eating, of their utensils, etc.

Some pictures:
1.jpg

2.jpg

3.jpg

4.jpg

Recipes:
Macaroni and Cheese:
14 oz Cavatappi or other tubular pasta
32 oz Whole Milk
8 oz Sharp cheddar, shredded
8 oz Mozzarella, shredded
4 oz American, shredded or small cubed
4 oz Grana Padano or Parmesan with rinds
4 oz Butter
4 oz Flour
1 t Dried thyme
1/8 t Cayenne
1 Large sprig fresh rosemary
1/4 C vegetable broth
Salt & Pepper to taste

Cheese sauce:
Melt butter over medium heat. Add in flour and stir. Reduce heat to medium low and continue cooking flour in butter for 5-10 minutes, careful not to burn. Return heat to medium and slowly whisk in 1/2 of the milk. Stir milk until it begins to thicken. Reserving a bit of cheddar for topping, begin adding cheddar, mozzarella, and american by the cup into the milk mixture. Allow each addition to melt into the sauce before adding the next. Add in the vegetable broth and 1/2 of the remaining milk. Add herbs and spices and cheese rind and salt and pepper as needed. Simmer over low heat. Sauce will continue to thicken a bit, add rest of the milk only as needed. Sauce should be thick enough to hold onto the back of a spoon.
Cheese sauce can be used right away or refrigerated and used later (recommended).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta in a rolling boil with 1 T salt added to the water. Drain when a firm al dente. Shake off excess water. Return to pot with cheese sauce and mix well. If cheese sauce is cold from refrigerator, reheat on stovetop with pasta to reduce baking time. Add pasta and cheese sauce mix to a baking pan. Top with reserved cheddar and grana padano or parmesan. Bake until cheese on top is melted and golden brown. Serve hot.

Salad:
Dressing:
1.5 T Fresh Tarragon
2 T Lemon juice
1/4 C Roasted garlic olive oil
1 T Grain Mustard
1 Clove Roasted garlic, mashed
1 t Salt
1 t Pepper

Potatoes:
5-10# red potatoes, washed and cubed
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper
Fresh Rosemary
Toss cubed potatoes in a light coating of olive oil, s&p and chopped fresh rosemary. Bake until tender and lightly browned at 350 degrees. Cool.

4 # Green beans, lightly blanched, then shocked in ice water.
5 Hard boiled eggs, peeled and rough chop
2 Heads Boston Bibb lettuce, plus one other head of greens of choice

Mix all ingredients together or reserve toppings on the side for people to add as they desire.

Site Sound

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People were asked to sit in rows in the middle of the room as if in bus seating. The audio track played over the 8 channel system so as to mimic movement around listeners fixed in the room. This was a pretty literal interpretation of the bus, but I was drawn to all of the bizarre sounds buses make: squealing, popping, hissing, beeping, etc. rather than just driving sounds.

I do wish it had been longer; this was mostly an experiment with editing files in audacity which I utilized in my final project.

Audio:
site sound tracks 1-4.wav

Embodied Sound/Independent Project

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I combined my Embodied sound project and my Independent project. I used the embodied sound project to experiment with understanding how to "create a space". I was interested in figuring out how to create a particular emotion with the use of space and environment. My presentation I did for the class for my "embodied" project I felt was unsuccessful. I received plenty of feedback, however most of it didn't feel encouraging. I was hoping with my project to create an environment that makes people feel comfortable with dancing. However, I don't know if I personally was taking a big enough risk on my projects. I'm not sure what I would have done differently, perhaps more screaming and breaking of glass bottles. I'm not sure what the point would have been though, other than to have a selfish vent at my extreme displeasure and frustration towards most of life.

My final project went alright. I had a lot of people tell me they thought the music I was playing was great.. These people were all my peer's parents however. I felt like the perception of me was a nice boy, that plays nice music, to make people feel happy. This is not the person I wish to be, and not the persona I wish to present to the world. I do not feel any sense of inner power with this position. Thank you to Shannon Lee, Dan Dicken, Madelyn Lee for taking pictures with me at the end of the night! Also thank you to all my classmates that stopped by and said Hello. I was having a rough night and seeing you there to support me meant a lot.

Here are my pictures of the event. Photo credit: Shannon Lee

IMAG0529.jpgIMAG0530.jpgIMAG0532.jpgIMAG0533.jpgIMAG0536.jpg

MA††

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Justice is Xavier De Rosnay & Gaspard Auge. Formed in 2003, first full length album "†" released in 2007 to critical acclaim.

I will skip the details of why I think this is a great electro-house group and get into what I had skipped during my presentation. During the course of one of our readings there was a philosopher mentioning modern music, or, the change he thought we would witness in modern music. The author had said that our sound environment is now more filled with noise pollution. This is because of the industrial revolution, so now we have cars, factories, and hundreds of electronic machines that are apart of our daily lives. These machines all produce their own sound. The author described this passive existence much like an ocean or flour mill. If I live next to the ocean for long enough, after a while I won't hear the ocean anymore, unless I try to listen for it. If I live in a room with a computer, refrigerator, and like most people have lightbulbs, there is a static electric noise that these machines all produce. The author of this paper suggests that we too have begun ignoring these noises as static background. We are now adjusted to the age of machines.
The author goes on to explain that the timbre heard in a saw blade running can be much more interesting to the human ear than a full orchestra. We are fully adjusted to the sounds of an orchestra and to control the sound of machines is very exciting to us.
I believe that the first examples of this phenomenon are seen in early rock music of the 50's and 60's which used amplifier distortion as a way to create more timbre in music that wasn't heard previously. We have reached an end of this use of sound, now computers have helped in assisting us to make our sounds much more complicated. The age of computers creates real, controlled distortion, the use of sampling previous material at an infinitely open level, and all of this can be done essentially real-time. I believe Justice is the epitome of embodying this artistic paradigm. They embody much of the modern aesthetic of what is "cool" in the modern sound world. They also are very talented song-writers in the traditional western sense. Lastly, they take into account modern trends and old cliches of the past, and put all their pieces together with taste.

You may sample the album here:
http://www.mediafire.com/?o19gzcc3a3961kf

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