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 AND COLOR: EXPLORING TIME AND PLACE ON THE LAKE CHAMPLAIN WATERFRONT

Champlain Sound and Color - Burlington VT - Paris
Champlain Sound and Color. Pictured here is the color stream projected at La Bellevilloise gallery in Paris, France. The stream was live from the ECHO Center in Burlington VT.

Title:

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.

Idea:

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.

The Streams

Champlain Sound Stream

SCORING THE STREETS OF NEW ORLEANS

NEW ORLEANS CITY SOUNDSCAPE, 2010. This image was created from midi data used to create SOUNDING THE STREETS OF NEW ORLEANS

Title:

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.

Idea:

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.

Listen

SOUNDING THE STREETS OF NEW ORLEANS

NAVIGATING THE BAY

Projection from NAVIGATING THE BAY. This was an active score that responded to active triggers (sensors) in the courtyard.

Title:

NAVIGTING THE BAY

When and Where:

San Francisco Art institute Courtyard
December 2008

Score/drawing used in the projection of the installation NAVIGATING THE BAY.

Ideas:

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.

Listen

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