2006-01-25 00:36:45 ET|
So this was basically my life for the past six months...
bunch-o pics n' shit... and sound;)
I basically spent an entire semester tackling a huge learning curve for this "interface" class of mine, which deals with power mechanics, electronics, and computer programming. We use Max/MSP for the programming aspect, which is fucking amazing. It's a visual approach to programming... think mind map... it's really an insane program which I'm completely enthralled by... I just wish I had 500 bucks to buy it, haha.
Anyways, I digress.
I started out the semester with a realisation: I listen to too much music. Almost to the point where I would listen to music and research new music to where I wouldn't make any art or do my homework. This was a bad thing. However I decided that my interest and overall passion for music could be incorperated in to my sculpture, so i decided to start using sound in my work. When the teachers 1st showed us max/msp i almost died.... so many possibilities... I could essentially create my own synthasizer from scratch, and that's what I was fixated on for a while. though that idea started to morph when I started thinking about the nature of a keyboard and how people interacted with it. I decided I wanted to do some sort of sound synthasis or manipulation, but have the interface be different. This is where the drawers started to come into the picture... why drawers? There's something about the physical interaction of opening drawers that was particularly interesting to me. Specifically the 'pandora's box' or unknown factor of not knowing what is in the drawers before you open them.. so there is a lot of play with that in the piece. anyways, I'm doing too much artsy-fartsy talk, here are some pictures of my drawers:
These are pretty much just regular old drawers that I got at re-use depot in oakland, I didn't clean them up or anything, just gutted the locks that were on there, and cut out the back so I had access to it.
As you can see, there are locks, and are infact the ones that I removed. however I only kept the front part of them, and glued them onto knobs. Those knobs were attached to potentiometers (that's techie talk for knobs that do things when you turn them... like the volume control on your stereo) which lived were the old locks lived previously.
As you can see here:
and here... with some rusty gunk that lives in the drawers (rust c0r3)
close up of the potentiometer
So how this object works is that, you pull out the drawers, which triggers a sound that repeats in loop until you push the drawer back in and it shuts off. There was a different sound for each drawer, and you could have multiple drawers pulled out at the same time, essentially mixing the different sounds together (each draw was kinda like a different track). This is where the potentiometers came in: when you had a drawer pulled out and the sound was going off, you could manipulate that sound with the knob... thus creating more sounds and adding another element of interactivity.
what you effected with the knobs varried from drawer to drawer... some of them controlled the duration of the sound, some controlled the frequency, some controlled the pitch and a bunch of other stuff. It basically depended on the sound. So when you opened one drawer it would have a clicking sound going off every half second and as you twisted the knob it would start to reveal more of that sound, instead of the millisecond 'click' that you would hear. so you get the idea.
As you can see above, the sound came from within the drawers themselves. you can see some junk ass speakers I found at a scrap yard in this drawer. having the sound come from inside the drawers made for some really awesome sounds. some of the speakers I laid face down on the drawer, which vibrated the drawer, so you could feel it. others worked really well by being contained in the drawers and echoing around. This was another variable that people could manipulate by moving drawers in faster or slower, and creating a weird doppler effect. Originally I wanted the drawers to work on a sliding potentiometer (as in, when you pulled the drawer out it would effect the sound... kinda like a trombone. It didn't work out due to time contraints and finances.... but there's always future projects)
moregunk in the drawers ;) man, I love found objects...
almost forgot... there were switches in the back of the cabinet that are pressed in when the drawers are pushed in, and released when the drawers are pulled out... this is what triggers the sound on and off. I had to fabricate these little pieces of metal to hold the switches in place, and then I tack welded them to the inside of the cabinet.
and the guts of this monstrosity...
All of these wires were hooked up to these teleo modules, which were hooked up to a computer, along with my make-shift speaker amp contraption (not pictured).
the computer was of course running a patch that I wrote in max/msp that was essentially a really simple FM synth. The top 3 drawers were the left audio channel, and the bottom three were the right audio channel.
Last but not least, I have a small sample of some of the sounds that were created while people interacted with my drawers, or "played the drawers". I recorded this directly from the computer, so all you can hear are the sounds that were being triggered and sent to the drawers... not the actual 'live sound' (like the doppler effect I mentioned, or the various clings and bangs the drawers made while sliding in and out, or the unique acoustics of the drawers and speakers themselfs). This particular clip was of some old guy who was "gettin' his noise on"... he seemed to really enjoy it.
anyways, enjoy. and lemme know what you think.