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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:




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.

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

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.

Underwater guitar


Photo on 12-28-11 at 9.51 AM.jpgDespite the leakage and buzzy tones created by the vibrations of the slinky against the wall of the PVC tube I feel as though the project was a success. The compontents I used to construct the device included a variety of PVC tubing components, a small 4ohm speaker, a little 3w amp, a slinky Jr, a rubber cork, a contact microphone and some silicone caulk. One of the most dificult aspects of creating the device was properly sealing the speaker without muffling to much. If i were to rework the piece i would mount it on a small motor or fulcrum so that it could be physcaly moved to modify the sound. The amount of water in the tubing played a direct roll in the sound created, by moving it around the sound could be modified while prefroming not to mention the sweet sloshing sounds created by the motion of the water.

Embodied Sound: Sonic Wind Chimes

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Through the sonic wind chimes I attempted to create a functional piezo amplified wind chime using recycled film holders and various other parts of a film cannester. Using the piezo microphone to amplify the sound of the clashing various film parts I was able to embody a wind chimes sound in a similar but different manner.




Embodied Sound - Project 2


Documentation from my embodied sound project:

The sketch of each part of the project.
Photo on 2011-12-23 at 11.21.jpg

The mircophones were attached to each end of a wooden stick.

We glued the cable to the stick at the area where the balloon tied, to make a smoother surface for the balloon to seal around.

The glue and tape helped prevent air from leaking.

After the stick was finished, we blew up the two balloons with microphones inside them while we were in the lab.

Wireless mics transmitter.

We filled one balloon with helium and one with regular air, to see if there was a difference in sound between the two.

Packing up supplies to head over to West Bank.

Tying on the two "lift" balloons that were blown on in the parking lot.


Embodied Sound - The Scale

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A scale is an object that people often ignore, avoid, or don't enjoy engaging with in our culture. People usually use it alone. Sometimes it just collects dust in the bathroom. For this project, I wanted to turn this everyday object into something that people could interact with or maybe have fun with in a social environment. I chose to present this project in the women's bathroom to make a stronger connection between the scale and its social connotations. This project also gave me the chance to learn the basics of an arduino. To produce sound, an arduino was connected to a chip that was secured underneath paper attached to the center rotation piece of an old scale. Whenever weight or movement affected the rotation, it changed the pitch of sound produced.



Embodied Bird Party Documentation

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Here's the video of my embodied sound project, newly entitled "Trust."


Sorry, I can't rotate the video because I am simply TOO busy.

The polyethylene sheets worked just they way I'd hoped. I achieved a simultaneous transparency and opacity that left the source of the bird calls up to the viewer. Although it was admittedly pretty easy to figure out how the sounds were produced, hopefully people embraced the project enough for at least a moment to imagine that there really were birds inside the tower.

Being, Interpreted

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Click here for documentation / the performance

The more I think about this project, the more it seems to become cohesive to me. This project was an exploration of human expression with the "human" facet removed as much as possible; this wasn't so much embodied sound, or disembodied sound, as it was a re-embodied sound. I was interested in the concept of remnants, that whatever produced the sound would still be around in reality, and no longer stored in our memory; I didn't want a recording to be played. I wanted music to occur and to have the generator of that sound still existing with us in the present.

And the more I think about that goal, to have an "objective human expression", the more I like to see how much I failed. It's the most striking visual aspect of what happens here; my body is the framework for the art, and it's obvious that a human is there under the "negation layer" of the costume. No matter what we say, our reality is filtered through our consciousness; nothing can ever be perfectly objective. So my attempt to make an "objective performance" is and always will be doomed on the theoretical level. And I like that. I'm okay with us being stuck with human infallibility.

It's also really funny how my boxers are visible the whole time. There's something to say about that near-nudity; I'm almost being radically honest with the audience, but I am still hidden. The implication of something taboo is there, and nothing more; it's all in the imagination of the audience, it's all in the interpretation.

That's why I wrote "Being Interpreted" on the mask. No one saw it, but it's a detail to keep in mind, all things considered. I think it's a good punny sort of way to explain it; I am a being, some kind of consciousness, and you are interpreting me; that's all there is to it.

Music is a good medium for this kind of wild interpretive experiment, because music has no inherent meaning; we interpret it on an individual level as we please, and have differing tastes in it. And yet, it has the power to shape our mood. This is the basis for my change to this project from the last one I had in mind; the communicative event can only be interpreted, it is not truth transmitted with no loss in understanding between people.

It's all up to your attitude.

I was going to try editing the audio to make it "better", "cleaner", but i decided i really liked the lo-fi approach. It's just so creepy and creative. This isn't how people in the room experienced it, but I like this video representation of how strange people can be. Honestly, how can you not watch and listen to this video, know it is a graded performance at an academic institution, (If you were wondering, the University of Minnesota.) and not wonder about a few things?

The title is Being Interpreted, because that's all I will ever be to anyone.