Do You Need a Sound Detector?

Here’s a nice option for art installations and sound projects that need to detect sound and/or measure sound amplitude.

The SparkFun Sound Detector is a small and relatively easy to use audio sensing board with three different outputs. The Sound Detector not only provides an audio output, but also a binary indication of the presence of sound, and an analog representation of its amplitude. The 3 outputs are simultaneous and independent, so you can use as many or as few as you want at once.

This first demo that includes and arduino and the sound detector board, starts with simple “claps” in order to demonstrate the binary indication of sound. Note that that the LED changes color and an indication light goes on and off on the sound detector board.

The next demo uses a horn sound, the horn sound is more complex and an anolog representation of the sound is shown through the changing colors of the idea. As the amplitude of the sound changes so does the color.

The third demo creates feedback using the sound detectors audio out and generating feedback with the use of the mini amp.

Arduino + Sound Detector tutorial

Product info here

True Experience + Time Warp Impossible Journey

In this composition the ambient sounds of the subway are as significant as the more easily identifiable musical sounds, every tone and percussive sound you hear is part of True Experience + Time Warp Impossible Journey. There is crescendo and decrescendo, there are melodies and rhythms.  Sounds travel across a subway platform and sound strikes the bare winter branches of trees.  This composition demonstrates how physical boundaries are broken and betrayed by sound’s ability to transcend barriers of consecutive time and solid structures, its ability to create unique networks of time and space.

Suggestions for creating the best listening environment for this composition:

Many of the composition’s sonic textures will be lost if played through the tiny tinny speaker your computer or mobile device. The best way to listen is through headphones. It can be a challenge to capture the spatial qualities of a sound piece like this one through the rigid environment of computer and and mobile screens. I’d rather play it for you in a gallery space or even through your own sound system in your home, an environment that would allow the sound to travel through a quality speaker, then through space before arriving in your ears.

 

Prototyping for Sound: Arduino MP3 Player Shield

I’m experimenting with a Sparkfun mp3 player shield for Arduino, using it to prototype for a sound installation idea. In this prototype there are just simple push buttons, while the final installation is more likely to use sensing or more complex triggers. This prototype allows me to experiment with different sounds and on a small scale, get a sense of how sound transitions might work. For the speaker I’m using my old faithful Fender mini amp, love this little device! I use it routinely for prototyping. The video here demonstrates a setup of simple push button that trigger custom sounds stored on the sd card.

There are tutorials and libraries on the Sparkfun site and Github. I used this tutorial to get started.

Want to learn more about Arduino shields?

 

YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE. IGNORE THIS MESSAGE!

In the public square scattered cell phone “bell” alerts dot the city soundscape ringing from pockets, bags and café tables. This image shows an iphone with alerts set to bells.

Title:

Your Attention Please! Ignore this Message

When and Where:

Exhibited as part of Break It! Build It! at the Burlington City Arts Gallery, July 25, 2014 – September 13, 2014

Ideas:

This installation is inspired by an earlier work, the Firehouse Bell Project.

Despite major shifts in technology, bells continue to serve as cultural signifiers in the public square. A bell like the one atop this firehouse remains part of the built environment even though it no longer rings. Next door at City Hall a bell recording plays on the hour through an amplifier, no physical bell required. Scattered cell phone “bell” alerts dot the city soundscape ringing from pockets, bags and café tables.

Within the lifetime of current Burlington residents, civic bells like the Firehouse Bell communicated singular messages that found meaning in community, time and place.
By contrast in 2014 bells and alerts from personalized media sustain a persistent sonic layer of anytime–anyplace messages. While these messages are not meant for us they demand our attention.

Your Attention Please! Ignore this Message explores the cultural shift from public bells to private bells through Malcolm McCullough’s definition of the Ambient Commons. It is a reflection on how (and perhaps increasingly so) our sensory field comes from and refers to someplace else.

Installation Experience:

Ubiquitous cell phone alerts that reference bells were amplified in the gallery through ceiling speakers. Private alerts based on an individual’s schedule were played publicly. The installation Your Attention Please! Ignore this Message brings attention to the continued sounding of bells in the public square, despite major shifts in what we consider public and private and the blurring lines between the common digital and physical spaces we share.

Listen

Cell Phone Bells:  This short clip includes “chimes”, “bell”, “bell tower”, and “door bell”.

Sound Arts and the Vermont Maker Movement

Jenn Karson with arduino
Jenn Karson with an Arduino. Photo by Matt Thorsen for Seven Days

This week’s Seven Days features the article “Meet Your Makers: Vermont hackers, artists and inventors are sharing ideas — and solving problems.” We were thrilled to be interviewed and are very grateful to Megan James for her excellent writing and to Matt Thorsen for the creative photography.
http://www.7dvt.com/maker-movement-vermont

SunTracker 2012: A New Sound Installation in Progress

Sound installation: Sun TrackerI’m currently working on a new installation “Sun Tracker” that will debut on Friday, June 22, 2012 as part of the Woodstock Digital Media Festival. Working with Jeff Branson of Denver, CO and Sam Stelfox of Burlington, a sound installation will be programmed based on the Earth/Sun relationship during the time of the summer solstice. We are using Cosm (previously known as Pachube) to keep track of the live feeds (from Colorado, Vermont and possibly California).

I met Jeff and Sam through Vermont Makers, and it’s been great to work with them. Jeff works with SparkFun out in Denver and Sam is a part of Lab B in Burlington. Along with Studio Ju Ju, Lab B has  served as a workspace for this project, in fact we met there last week with Jeff (via google+ hangout).

I’ll document the project here as we move forward. In the meantime here’s a link to more Studio Ju Ju sound installations.

 

Explore the Possibilities of Exhibiting and Reading Radio and Sound art

This is really interesting and much needed exploration of sound art and sound art exhibition. The exhibition description says it explores “all” the possible ways of exhibiting and reading sound art – quite the overstatement!  I think there will always be new ways to exhibit and understand sound art. In any case, great to see people out there ready to take the journey.

Radio Arts Space FM / online / gallery exhibition / sound arts
Radio Arts Space FM / online / gallery exhibition

The exhibition Radio Arts Space constructs a gallery inside radio space, where Sound art and Radio art works are exhibited. It explores (many possible ways) of exhibiting and reading Radio and Sound art. The project is also complemented by an (international) platform for the discussion of meanings, contextualization, artistic research and the exchange of sound art works.

radioCona, produced by CONA, launched in 2008, is a platform that uses the radio frequency space in art contexts. FM frequency is understood as public space, explored from different perspectives and mediated through artworks audiobooks, programming and exhibitions. radioCona is intervention into public space.

Salon Pod

Salon Pod traveled to indoor and outdoor locations in Vermont. Participants seated in its chair chose from a menu of soundscape options. Once choosing their soundscape it was played, just for them, through the Salon Pod sound system.

Title:

Salon Pod

Collaborator:

Ken Mills

When and Where:

Salon Pod traveled to cafés and small venues in Central and Northern Vermont in 2006. It was part of the South End Art Hop in 2005 and 2006.

The Experience:

“I forgot to tell y’all that I checked out the Salon Pod over the weekend at The Langdon Street Cafe in Montpelier. Maybe you’ve seen the short items I’ve written about the Pod in Weekend in recent months. Maybe you haven’t. Anyway, the gist is that Burlington musician Jenn Karson (formerly of local riot-grrrl band Zola Turn) converted an old-school hair-salon chair into a listening station for her ambient music. She pumps her music through small speakers installed in the spaceman-styled hair dryer – one of the most brilliant musical-equipment ideas I’ve ever seen – and gives dark goggles to the listener to block out as much sensory interference as possible. I selected a musical number called “Le Coiffeur,” which was appropriate considering the setting (and I needed a haircut, anyway, and a virtual one seemed so much easier and cheaper). It was a pretty freaky experience, lemme tell ya, but very cool. The blend of impressionistic synth-driven music and snippets of cutting scissors and French-speaking barbers was a first for me, frankly. I’ll be writing about it more at length for an upcoming article in the Free Press, so keep your eyes and ears open.“- Brent Hallenbeck, Burlington Free Press

Listen

salon pod greetingle coiffeurcat birdrecord rainfall