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.
This composition demonstrates how physical boundaries are easily broken and betrayed by sound’s ability to transcend consecutive time and solid structures, refracting time and space.
The journey begins on NYC subway platform where the particulate rhythms and melodies of the subway swarm with the notes and beats of subway musicians.* Once boarded and on the train, the ambient is quieted and encapsulated…until you are let off, far from the city, where the barren trees hold steady, absorbing a cold winter rain.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
SOUND AND COLOR: EXPLORING TIME AND PLACE ON THE LAKE CHAMPLAIN WATERFRONT
Artists: Jenn Karson, Matt Larson
When and Where
In April 2010 CiTu labs of the University of Paris held the first synchronized international event for The Art Collider. In Vermont, sound artist Jenn Karson and photographer Matt Larson participated from ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center in Burlington, Vermont. They contributed live sound and video streams from the Burlington Waterfront using max/MSP.
The Art Collider is an online platform that supports a collaborative creation of media art through a system of Peer-to-Peer and Artist-to-Artist production.
Sites in the Paris, Montreal, San Francisco, New York & Linz participated in the event.
Lake Champlain is a place of global history and natural beauty. Its cultural communities have included
the native Abnaki, early French & British settlers. Presently Burlington is a place of
Asian and African refugee resettlement programs. Traffic from Burlington’s international airport is a dominant element of the Lake’s soundscape. Accompanying its cultural communities are its natural communities. Spring in Vermont is always a dynamic season, a combination of snowfall and snow melt, mud and ice, rain, sleet, sun and frost. It is a time when people and the animals who made their way south for the winter, return. Currently, the weather in the area is more turbulent than usual as the northeast region of the United States is experiencing record flooding and temperatures.
Sound and Color: Exploring Time and Place on the Lake Champlain Waterfront is an exploration of
these natures and cultures that are the Lake Champlain Waterfront.
SCORING THE STREETS OF NEW ORLEANS (sound)
NEW ORLEANS CITY SOUNDSCAPE (image)
When and Where
ETHNOGRAPHIC TERMINALIA NEW ORLEANS
DuMois Gallery, New Orleans
November 11 – December 3, 2010
Opening Reception: Friday, November 19
Image: New Orleans City Soundscape, 2010.
Fragments of song float from street corners and weave throughout
the open-air bars and restaurants that line Bourbon Street. For the
passerby, pieces of numerous songs are threaded into one melody.
Time signature is determined by the walker’s gate, notes by the chance
encounters with the sound events of the place, points on a map.
On December 31st, 2004 I walked through the French Quarter and down Bourbon Street recording the experience described above. Music, the sounds of busy streets and celebrations all became part of the recording. Using midi conversion, I translated the original eldrecording into digital data. The data now works as a master score, open to diverse interpretations.
In 2010 I’ve worked with this score to create the sound piece SCORING THE STREETS OF NEW ORLEANS and the image NEW ORLEANS CITY SOUNDSCAPE.
NAVIGTING THE BAY
When and Where:
San Francisco Art institute Courtyard
Navigating the Bay is a sound and projection installation that explores the complex systems of humans, animals and machines that rely and reside on the San Francisco Bay. A response to the 2007 Cosco Busan Oil Spill that was partly the fault of malfunctioning radar, the installation uses sound, projection, sensors, micro controllers and Max/MSP. The piece explores the progression of navigational technologies, channeling current sounds of the bay through historic San Francisco fog horn patterns.
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.