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KINETIC SPEAKERS AND EXPERIMENTAL SOUND CREATIONS

There is a profound relationship between sound, body, and space. To explore these concepts, this class connects traditional and theoretical knowledge with hands-on experimentation to experience sound as an unstable yet sculptural art form. We reject the notion that recorded or acousmatic music is best reproduced on traditional mono or stereo speaker systems. We diffuse and listen to sound in relation to a variety of spatial properties and learn that sound and space react with one other in complex ways. Thus we gain new perspectives on sound production and performance, exploring their potential for artistic creation with critical curiosity. The class actively takes part by learning and inventing production techniques, understanding basic principles of acousmatic & experimental music, and inventing new strategies for sound perception. TA: Jose A. Rivera Students: Christina Chen, Langston Fitts, Liang Hai, Dohyun Lee, Nicole L’Huillier, So Yeon Lim, Xinyi Ma, MyDung Thi Nguyen, Adam Pere, Sean Phillips, Andy Kelleher Stuhl, Brian Tice

intro

...is a course led by German composer and electronic musician Jan St. Werner. It’s held within the Arts, Culture, and Technology program, under the School of Architecture + Planning at MIT.


index

reverberations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . II projections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . III acknowledgments .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . IV

credit:

index

emanations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I

graphic design + layout jose a. rivera and nicole l’huillier text and editing andy stuhl project content kinetic speakers and experimental sound creations class


PART I: EMANATIONS

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“However far its source, the sound sits in my ear. I cannot hear it if I am not immersed in its auditory object, which is not its source but sound as sound itself.” — Salomé Voegelin

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Composers at the Groupe de Recherches Musicales divorce sounds from their sources, cutting and splicing their way into an acousmatic music. Meanwhile, in a radio station basement, Karlheinz Stockhausen builds tone-generators from neglected equipment, sculpting signals at the avant-garde of an electronic musicality. Nearby, Amon Düül and Can and Tangerine Dream et cetera place synthesizers at the center of a reconstructed rock, filling cathedrals with drone to drown out traumatic echoes.

Digging up our own past experiences and experiments and blending them with fresh recordings, resounding these into the classroom, we stir ourselves in a primeval soup of sample and stimulus.

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Immersion in listening, in research, in cycles and moments of departure. Giordano Bruno lifts the cosmic curtain and makes a break for infinity. Italo Calvino’s listening king melds himself into the great architectural paranoia mechanism of the palace-as-ear.


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GIORDANO BRUNO On the Infinite Universe and Worlds

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“Eighthly, none of our sense-perceptions is opposed to the acceptance of infinity, since we cannot deny infinity merely because we do not sensibly perceive it; but since sense in itself is included in infinity, and since reason doth confirm infinity, therefore needs must that we posit infinity. Moreover, if we consider well, sense doth present to us an infinite universe. For we perceive an endless series of objects, each one contained by another, nor do we ever perceive either with our external or our internal sense, an object which is not contained by another or similar object. Lastly before our eyes one thing is seen to bound another; air is as a well between the hills, and mountains between tracts of air, land bounds the sea and again sea bounds all lands; yet in truth there is nothing outside to limit the universe … so far on every side spreads out huge room for things, free from limit in all directions everywhere. From the testimony of our sight then we should rather infer the infinite, since there is no object which doth not terminate in another, nor can we experience aught which terminateth in itself.” — Giordano Bruno,  On the Infinite Universe and Worlds (De L’infinito Universo Et Mondi), Argument of the First Dialogue

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“Passing alone to those realms The object erst of thine exalted thought, I would rise to infinity: then I would compass the skill Of industries and arts equal to the objects. There would I be reborn: there on high I would foster for thee Thy fair offspring, now that at length cruel Destiny hath run her whole course Against the enterprise whereby I was wont to withdraw to thee. Fly not from me, for I yearn for a nobler refuge That I may rejoice in thee. And I shall have as guide A god called blind by the unseeing. May Heaven deliver thee, and every emanation Of the great Architect be ever gracious unto thee: But turn thou not to me unless thou art mine.” Giordano Bruno 03


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Bruno’s text was great. It keeps inspiring me over

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and over again.

// wednesday march 6 @ 11:38pm

He strongly emphasizes the potential of intangible and inexpressive things and ideas. Yes, I can’t even imagine it, but they somewhat exist. I suddenly realized that I was limiting myself. I went back to my old works, trying to selfcriticize my current attitude toward myself.

The work above is my old visual-auditory work in which sound is to be smelled, eaten, felt, and re-thought.

Such a naive work, but perhaps I am now too serious.

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[ supermarket 2 ] by adam m. pere an ordinary trip to the supermarket. https://vimeo.com/155561976


THE ART OF NOISE Luigi Russolo - 1913

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(translated from L’arte dei Rumori)

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“My dear Balilla Pratella great futurist musician, On March 9, 1913, during our bloody victory over four thousand passéists in the Costanzi Theater of Rome, we were fist-and-cane-fighting in defense of your Futurist Music, performed by a powerful orchestra, when suddenly my intuitive mind conceived a new art that only your genius can create: the Art of Noises, logical consequence of your marvelous innovations. In antiquity, life was nothing but silence. Noise was really not born before the 19th century, with the advent of machinery. Today noise reigns supreme over human sensibility. For several centuries, life went on silently, or mutedly. The loudest noises were neither intense, nor prolonged nor varied. In fact, nature is normally silent, except for storms, hurricanes, avalanches, cascades and some exceptional telluric movements. This is why man was thoroughly amazed by the first sounds he obtained out of a hole in reeds or a stretched string.”

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As the first field recordist in 20th century, classical music french composer Olivier Messiaen studied bird songs and transcribed them into piano pieces. His Catalogue d’Oiseaux (Catalogue of Birds) from 1959 displays the dialogue between his unconventional harmonic and tonal compositional movements and each bird’s sublime melodic and rhythmic characteristics. Over the course of the seven-book cycle the songs of 77 distinct birds unfold in a series of 13 movements totaling three hours of solo piano music. RBMA Radio on Messiaen: “Finding Salvation in Birdsong”  http://daily.redbullmusicacademy.com/2016/03/messiaen-finding-salvation-in-birdsong

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KARLHEINZ STOCKHAUSEN

Spherical Concert Hall “For the 1970 World Expo in Osaka in 1970, Germany built the world’s first, and so far only, spherical concert hall. It was based on artistic concepts by Karlheinz Stockhausen and an audio-technical concept from the Electronic Studio at the Technical University in Berlin. The audience sat on a sound-permeable grid just below the centre of the sphere, 50 groups of loudspeakers arranged all around reproduced, fully in three dimensions, electro-acoustic sound compositions that had been specially commissioned or adapted for this unique space. Works by composers including Bernd Alois Zimmermann and Boris Blacher were played from the multi-track tape, along with Bach and Beethoven.” 10


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“In the course of the 180-day exhibition, Stockhausen and a high-calibre, 19-strong ensemble gave live concerts for over a million visitors; “Spiral,” for a soloist and short-wave receiver was played over 1300 times, for example. It was possible to achieve the three-dimensional sound distribution live, using a spherical sensor built in Berlin to feed the 50 sound sources, but a tenchannel rotary mill constructed to Stockhausen’s design was deployed more frequently.” Golo Föllmer / medienkunstnetz.de

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No.15: MIKROPHONIE I (MICROPHONY I) for 6 players (2 groups of 3) with tam-tam (gong), 2 microphones, 2 filters with potentiometers (1964), [ca. 28’] Karlheinz Stockhausen

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“The Structures which are to be ordered into a “realization score” (in accordance with the Connection Scheme) are on loose sheets of paper. These Structure pages are graphically notated in 4 rows, with each row divided into 3 sub-rows.  The top row describes the sound as 1 of 36 onomatopoeic adverbs (such as whirring, roaring, croaking), made by the first player scraping and rubbing various plastic, rubber, paper and metal objects against the tam-tam.  Stockhausen leaves it up to the performers as to how exactly to get these sounds.  This first row also indicates the relative pitch (high, middle, low) and intensity.  The second row describes the second player’s movement of the microphone to and from the sound source (the thickness of line indicates a range between the highest value of that sub-row and the lowest value).  The third and fourth rows are the frequency bandwidth and gain (both controlled by a third player).    Each trio of players has their own score and they generally alternate in their Structures, except in the “tutti” Structures.“ stockhausenspace.blogspot.com  

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“Miniatuur is a kinetic sound installation that plays with the physical laws of sound. Mechanisms, through which sounds exist and are created, are revealed. Twentyfive miniature sound objects are placed on a table. Some of the object holds a tiny speaker and a rotatating reflector. The speaker amplifies field recordings of natural noises like wind, crickets, water… The reflector modulates these sounds on a purely acoustic level by acting on physical aspects: air, reflection and movement. The reflector is a rotating flywheel with specially shaped panels. The circular motion of the reflector distorts, disrupts, bounces the physical properties of sound waves. The sound changes dynamically, depending on the movement of the flywheel.“ - Aernoudt Jacobs 14


“The Diamond synchrotron is a rich multi-spectral sonic environment, with a cacophony of sounds generated by machines which hiss pure nitrogen, pump air from vacuum chambers and cool high-powered magnets. There is never one time where any sound is exactly the same. It is a large space, circular; extremely reverberative, vibrating complex tones from the electro-magnetic and mechanical interfaces which generate the electron beam which travels at near the speed of light. The actual physical space of the synchrotron seems to capture pure human intelligence, concentration and the ability to look beyond what is currently possible. It is light, futuristic and like nothing I have ever seen before.� Jo Thomas - Crystal Wave, Diamond Light Source

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“The MP3 saga boils down to the question of how to make a profit from the insufficiency of the human ear or the distracted state of most listeners.� Sound theorist Jonathan Sterne interviewed by Geert Lovink http://computationalculture.net/article/reflections-on-the-mp3-format

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Our last class session touched on wave field synthesis, a technique for spatialized sound that creates the illusion of “virtual acoustic sources.” The figure of this technology offers some provocations when combined with other material we discussed, particularly the work of Janet Cardiff and acousmatic music.

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Cardiff’s “The Forty Part Motet” presents forty loudspeakers arranged in a room, each speaker playing the voice of one singer in a choral piece. Wave field synthesis offers the possibility of replacing these freestanding speakers with a field of virtual sources. What would it do to Cardiff’s installation to thus decouple each of the forty voices from its corresponding physical object? The piece would become, in a sense, super-acousmatic music: the individual sounds would not only be divorced from their origins but from any visual reference point, veiled behind the wave field’s “acoustic curtain.” An imagined “Forty Part Motet” without its inward-facing circle of loudspeakers seems off, swapping in a game of roving the space in search of these super-acousmatic voice origins for the compellingly simple act of facing a loudspeaker and attending to its one voice among the many. Without this imagined wave field version of the piece, the speakers as objects seem secondary to the arrangement of sound within the space; but picturing the same sound structure in an empty room highlights the work each loudspeaker performs in standing in for a human singer. The affective weight of the piece seems to hinge at least partly on the chance to attend to an individual voice in the group through a kind of acousmatic interpersonal reception. The material object in this exchange, the loudspeaker set up at face level, is much more than a necessary device to render the artist’s desired sound structure.

While its potential applications are various, wave field synthesis seems in one way to be the best available means for concealing loudspeakers, via relegating them to one wall in a room and removing the need for each sound source to have its own speaker. Yet Cardiff’s work shows why such concealment is in many cases an unproductive task for sound art, highlighting the importance of speakers as physical and sculptural presences in a sound-activated space. As we think about ways to deploy kinetic speakers in sound works, the relationship between sound reproduction, motion, and materiality will be actively at play.

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PART II: REVERBERATIONS

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reverberations

Repeating experiments recreating environments, we start to diffuse sounds and ideas into the echoing space that is

taking shape.

The classroom becomes a Dream House, a la La Monte Young. Old manifestos are put to a contemporary test in archaeologically contorted signal chains. 01


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We fan out into neighboring subterranean spaces, hearing through handheld recorders, in search of sound objects and electrosonic secrets. Arranging in collaboration, discarding and duplicating, we enter into a pre-composition awaiting its kineticization.

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Field recording in the Kendall Square subway station

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Instructions for group compositions derived from the field recording sessions:

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each group works with its chosen site to create a piece using the 12 different tracks. for example, the tunnel system group will work with 12 tracks recorded in the tunnel. pieces can be shorter then 5 minutes but not longer. export the piece as a .wav file.

framework:

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• listen to each recording from beginning to end before starting. • any edits you make should only include fade in or out, cutting and/or copying. • you should not add any additional sound material. stay true to the timeline of your recording. • you can loop, cut, and edit sounds, but no longer than 1 second per sound. • you don’t have to use all of the 12 recordings at all times. • decide on a compositional concept of how to approach the editing and mixing process. • group members do not have to be present during the production process at all times. • try to find a visual accompaniment to your piece. results: https://soundcloud.com/mitsoundcreations/sets/group-experiment-1 04


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spectrograms produced in Audacity and aligned to coordinate group composition — each recording begins at the same point in the tunnels below MIT, then diverges along its own path to find unique noises and resonant tones. 06


Four sine wave oscillators are being tuned 10 Hz apart from one another: 410Hz, 420Hz, 430Hz and 440Hz. each one is fed into one of four separate speakers. The speakers are installed in four corners of a room. The sine waves produce resonant layers of sound that overlap or extinguish each other. The sound fields vary within micro regions and encourage the listener to explore the space carefully. Just a slight twist of the head changes the perception of resonances and harmonics. the speed of walking through the room itself forms a composition.

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OSCILLATOR CUBE TEST

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reverberations

no no no no no no no no no no no no where nowhere nowhere nowhere where nowhere nowhere no where no where now where where where weh no weh noweh noweh noweh no way no way noway noway no way noweh no weh no weh wait wait no wait no wait no wait no wait no wait no weh no wag no weh no weh ruroh ru roh no wag nag nag nag nag no no no wag way way way no no bleh bleh bleh meh meh no no no no no no no no no no woofer section

nonononononono.... Interpretations of “Phantom Words” by Diana Deutsch

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The Most Recognizable Subway Station Voice //wednesday march 9 1:53am

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I instantly recognized his voice after Charlie Pellet said “stand clear of the closing door”. Even though I have only been to New York City a couple of times, this voice imprinted in my memory (without permission) because of my unavoidable encounters with MTA trains. This is probably the most repeated audible piece in NYC. While it surely sounds like a real person’s voice, I was still a bit surprised when I saw Charlie talking in moving images and heard “stand clear of the closing door” at the same time. It was as if the images are superimposed on that voice and that person in the image can be anyone. It was a very personal voice yet the mechanical use of it removes that personality from it. Also, it’s interesting to see how much Charlie loves his job and to have his voice broadcast in the air.

Ballroom Scene Chanting

// wednesday march 9 @ 1:35am

Hello all! Resident dancer checking in here :) I recently had my interests piqued in the ballroom vogue scene, mainly due to the fact that I had to watch so many videos of this style of dance in order to get inspiration for a part of a dance set I am helping choreograph for. (Also because there was a vogue scene featured in The Wiz Live and I’ve watched that 4 times). But yes, I always wondered: which came first? Voguing, a very feminine, semi-agressive dance style? Or Chanting, the rhythmic vocal style that competitors in a ball will vogue to? It turns out, both of these began together, mainly in the New York ball scene. The competitors would freestyle vogue (a bit of a redundant statement) to the just as readily improvised chants, many of which were highly situational and referred to the current state of the ball and the voguing occurring on the floor. Many of the chanters, who also served as MC’s for ball events, would bring a constant personality which allowed the contestants to have a minimal feel of where a chant would head, but still, it’s impressive. This type of creative flow is astonishing and inspiring to me as a dancer. In terms of this class, I hope to be able to look into various ways of using dance to convey sounds. <3 Queen Langston

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Objects in your head, made out of sound Acousmatic experiences via acoustic sensory stimulation such as ASMR, Binaural Beats, Intrusive Intimimate Storytelling, etc Robert Ashley: Automatic Writing, Pillars, for David Moodey https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rh_TC8j_JkE

https://ubusound.memoryoftheworld.org/ashley_robert/Ashley-Robert_Pillars-ForDavid_Moodey_2007.mp3

http://andygraydon.tumblr.com

Andy Graydon: Fig.1 (these things we know)

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http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1162/PAJJ_a_00219#.VyZKX6vg9d0

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reverberations

For me, the poster of this course is quite fascinating. I guess the chairs as objects remind me of the actors who might “speak,” giving the impression that there might be more stories hidden behind this scene. One of the intriguing topics we discussed during the class was about how dominant the visual sensation is to us. How confusing would it be if the visual and auditory information do not match each other. What if they mostly match but intermittently misalign at unexpected random timings. Individually flickering light bulbs and shadows of chairs cast by them might look like an actor sitting on the chair speaking by the medium of light. And the accordance and discordance between the speaking of the light and the actual “sound” would cause rhythmic/arrhythmic experience of the space.v anonymous blog post

//monday march 14 @ 1:57am

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listening

a reading of an excerpt from Listening to Noise and Silence by SalomĂŠ Voegelin for the best aural experience listen with headphones

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adam m pere

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https://vimeo.com/165353905

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sound

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Halfway through the semester, twelve speaker cones arrive. We each take one, and, circled around the table in the ACT Cube, we open up the cardboard boxes to begin our relationships with these heavy little mechanisms. The speakers arise from their boxes magnet-first. The thick iron disks are palm-sized, inviting us to grasp our speakers by these magnets and hoist them out to inspect the black plastic cones and their trappings. The rippled membrane which holds the driver in suspension has a pleasant elasticity, and one can test it by pushing the cone in gently and letting it spring back, in perhaps an ultra-slowed rehearsal of a future signal. The stained-black metal housing, meanwhile, presents at the opposite end from the magnet a template of tapped holes, inferring the architectural plane the speaker might come to occupy â&#x20AC;&#x201D; or the fishing lines by which it will hang from the ceiling. reverberations

For now, those transformations are still some weeks away. Our task for the time being, while we begin to conceive the twelve-part audio piece and the kinetic figures through which it will emerge, is to familiarize ourselves with the characters of these speakers â&#x20AC;&#x201D; to cohabitate with them and involve them as confidants in the course of our imagining. Soon enough, we move that process into the workshop, with our speakers in attendance. The cones are attached and suspended, pried back off and counterbalanced. Eventually they find their accorded positions, the limits to their ranges of motion, or an agreement with the sometimes tenuous structures that will bear and wobble with their weight. Finally, these structures and speaker cones get plugged in and thrown into cooperative motion. Across dozens of hours of composition and calibration, then of performance, they materialize our scattered captures into a reunited sound structure, filling the space of the Cube where we first examined them. Not all of them survive the onslaught of transduced electrical pulses and bass-shifted subway shrieks intact; by the end of the final performance, they and we feel hoarse and wrung out, heavily and happily shaken by the signal weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve shared. 14

andy stuhl


projections

PART III: PROJECTIONS

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Speaker cones arrive and take up residence as ideas take concrete form and materials take motion. Sounds generate plans for the spaces that will co-construct them, blueprints warped by anticipated waves. Digested history is re-articulated.

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Undertakings hit the workshop floor and bounce back as totally new formations. Kinetic speakers start to stand,

then to move, then to invent their own language, to call for what is, finally,

to be

voiced through them in concert.

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projections

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student sketches

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brian tice

To see without hearing; to hear without seeing; to always feelâ&#x20AC;Ś

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christina chen

andy stuhl

...the physical vibrations of particles as the common ground that connects sight to sound. 18


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Two ideas for the kinetic speakers. The sound belt should be able to

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produce some interesting effects with its movement. The sound robot could be remote controlled in order to create a more controllable and versatile speaker. Langston Fitts

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student sketches

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The sound of a composition or performance is only part of the sonic picture. There are two other parts to the equation, the audience themselves and the space in which both the audience and the sound exists. This kinetic sculpture concept demonstrates this balance by only actuating when a user is close by. Once the user is physically engaging with the kinetic speaker, the speaker rotates, reflecting sound waves upon a surface that varies in its acoustical absorption properties. Brian Tice 20


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nicole l’huillier // thursday march 10, @ 2:03pm

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Sketching Kinetic Speakers 01 - A composition in our own notation system based in “navigation charts” for orchestrating the choreography of 12 kinetic speakers moving in space drawing beams of sound and light. There will always be a connection with at least one other speaker, the beams will reveal this during the choreography. Speakers will dance in a dialogue within others, maybe one first listens and then “speaks” back… Speakers will be an extension of our bodies, containing sensors that react to movement, speed and position, giving shape to variations of sound. 21


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student sketches

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sean phillips

mydung thi nguyen 22


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speaker diffusion test

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https://vimeo.com/159885026 class installs nine speakers to diffuse sound inside MITâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ACT Cube

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student sketch

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adam m pere https://vimeo.com/160817401 24


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We were in the same site, but each recording was different. When gathered, recorded sound was telling the site. This kinetic speaker may spin, rock, and move, telling the soundâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s nature. Eventually, different sounds from each speaker are trying to achieve harmony and equilibrium. I have two iterations for my concept, one structural, and one using tension. The top one is made out of metal rods and strings. It is going to spin and shake like a baby mobile. The bottom one works like a seesaw, and for the most part it is going to tilt. doh lee

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sean phillips

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Plan: a kinetic speaker whose motion is provided by a bass shaker at the base of a long, pliable pole atop which the speaker sits.

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The bass shaker (a high-amplitude transducer designed for low frequencies) serves as the base of a speaker stand. Fastened to the upper surface of the bass shaker, a pole made of structurally sound but somewhat flexible material extends up about four feet. Possible materials include PVC, a wooden dowel, bamboo, or a tent pole. Ideally, the material is hollow so that the cabling needed for the speaker can be threaded through it. Different materials will be tested during construction, using a weight to stand in for the speaker and housing, so that a large range of motion can be achieved through the bass shaker with the structure still remaining upright. The speaker is affixed directly to the top of the pole, and a lightweight housing is fastened around it to provide a resonating chamber. The front face of the housing is flat or slightly convex so that it transduces the vibrations from the bass shaker into the air, and it tapers to a point behind the speaker to encourage (through slight aerodynamic difference relative to the sides) harmonic motion of the pole to align with the front-to-back axis of the speaker. The desired effect of this setup will be a speaker stand that can be set into a harmonic or chaotic wobbling motion by feeding a sine wave or other signal into the bass shaker. If construction proves infeasible with the bass shaker acting as the bottom support for the pole, a fallback design involves threading a horizontal rod through the pole halfway up its length and fastening the bottom of the pole to a horizontally positioned bass shaker. The free-rotating rod, held on either end in a non-moving stand, will support a more rigid pole and allow for motion only along one axis.

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xinyi ma

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The goal of this speaker installation is to display sound in two ways: one is audio, the other visual. The surface where the woofer is mounted is treated as a wall. On one side it displays the visualization of sound, and the other side releases sound. The sound box is on the visual side. It is made out of plexi-glass, and a network of strings is inserted in the sound box. When sound signal is sent and air pressurized, the strings will be activated by the air pressure inside the box and be visible through the plexi-glass. The woofer is facing outwards on the audio side. It releases sound to a chamber in the cube and creates a semi-closed soundscape. 28


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langston fitts

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I wanted this piece to really relate to my experience in MITâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s dance community. To represent this incredible journey that I have almost completed, I decided to have many of my colleagues who are executive leaders in the dance community read a passage from â&#x20AC;&#x153;The King Listens,â&#x20AC;? a writing by Italo Calvino. In doing so I hope to give an insight into the constant work that the MIT dance team executive boards do in keeping their ears to the ground, so to speak, and confronting the challenges they are faced with not only when large shows loom on the horizon, but also in day-to-day dealings with their teams. To couple with the setting of the text, I also designed the piece to be a parallel to the Rota Fortunae, a common and thematically fitting image from the medieval period. This is especially relevant as now the roles are beginning to turn over at the end of the semester and, as many of times here at MIT come to an end, the cycle continues with new leaders. 29


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The project will be an installation with a mirror and a speaker hidden beneath playing interpreted daily life sound music. The project aims to make visitors aware of the poetry and inspiration from repeated situations - everyday life. The speaker plays the sound in a relatively low volume and the mirror reflects visitorsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; faces. Only when one stands in front of the mirror observing his own face can he hear the sound pieces that recall his memory of daily behaviors, whether those behaviors are in front of a mirror or not.

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Inspired by composer Olivier Messiaenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s music working with bird songs, I found the gap between the original natural sound and artificial interpreted sound is interesting and triggering. When one already knows the origin and at the same time listens to the interpretation, he will realize the hiatus in between and be immersed in the beauty of translation. In the project, visitorsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; figures reflected by the mirror are the origin while the sound from the speaker is the interpretation.

liang hai

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so yeon lim & mydung thi

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The wall is…. a divider of space and object, creating zones and establishing territories between which difference emerges. Whether visual or aural, the wall presents a space of distortion.   This performance seeks to illustrate the dynamism with which the wall affects sound and one’s experience of it.    31


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update on the sound wall 32


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the electrosonic imaginary andy stuhl From Friedrich Jurgenson’s electronic voice phenomena in 1959 through to contemporary art, electricity and sound together hold a strong and eerie claim on the imagination.

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Jurgenson left recorders running for days on end and claimed they captured voices from the spirit world, brief cryptic messages from departed souls. EVP believers do the same today, circulating their recordings online. Decades later, artist Christina Kubisch conscripted the world of electromagnetic vibrations in her work by giving visitors special headphones that transduced those electrical murmurs into audible sound. She would string cables through galleries and fill them with vibrations for the roaming listeners to discover — a kind of worldbuilding through electrical sound. But then something changed: “In the 90s I discovered that I got more and more disturbances in my headphones—disturbances which were interesting, musical-wise, like rhythms, like pulses, but they were not my sounds. Asking around I found out that there was an incredible increase of electromagnetic waves with the new technologies, digital developments, hotspots, and so on. This was the starting point for a new kind of work, Electrical Walks.” With the electrical walks Kubisch stopped manufacturing her own electrosonic worlds and started weaving them as paths through the urban electromagnetiscape. Her special headphones gave access to a secret ecosystem of communication and surveillance that hides behind a thin acoustic veil. Microphones and speakers become like the sunglasses in John Carpenter’s They Live, transducing the subliminal, revealing the world within the world, whether supernatural or industrial. We experienced that phenomenon through our field recorders when we explored the subterranean tunnels of MIT and the Kendall station - taking up electrical ears, stepping into the electrosonic imaginary where the whispers of spirits and machines intermingle.

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dancing strings

student projects

xinyi ma Sound is a mechanical wave. In addition to being heard, it can be seen if arranged creatively. This woofer installation stages the movement of the sound wave. String is chosen to be the medium to transmit and display the sound wave. Each string is attached to a nail on one end, and all are connected to a piece of paper on the other end. The paper is secured on top of a woofer, so that as sound signal is sent to the woofer, the vibration of the cone is transferred to the paper and “activates” the strings attached. If set loose on paper, the strings would “tap dance” on the paper with the nails jumping up and down. If lifted up and adhered to the metal plate on top with a magnet, the string would vibrate like a spinning ballet dancer.

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tube trial no.2

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adam m. pere

projections

Tube Trial No. 2 is an attempt to augment this sound experience. In the interior, a speaker travels along the length of a box channeling its sound through a series of tubes and materials. In one instance the sound may appear to originate from multiple locations; each layer slightly different, molded by its chosen path. Whether actively listening or not, the human brain uses sound as a key to our perception of the environment by providing clues about distance, materiality, shape, and time.

35


wobble mount

projections

III

The idea behind the Wobble Mount is to let a sound act upon itself. A subwoofer acts as a base for a pole on which a smaller speaker sits, such that the low-frequency vibrations played through the subwoofer throw the smaller speaker into motion. When a sound recording is sent to the upper speaker, a software process pitch-shifts the same sound, filters it into a sub-audible frequency range, amplifies it heavily, and sends it to the subwoofer. Alternatively, the piece may be used to perform a very crude approximation of frequency modulation synthesis: if a constant tone is played through the upper speaker, it becomes the carrier frequency that is modulated, from the listenerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s perspective, by the vertical motion of the subwoofer. In either case, the notions of destabilization and synthesis are keyâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;synthesis in the sense of two sounds, or two modified versions of the same sound, being (re)combined in the object to form a new one.

andy k. stuhl 36


projections

III

iris

brian tice This speaker installation supposes that the listener is equally as important as the sound source and as such should be able to influence the sound source in interesting and unexpected ways. In this project eye tracking is used, or more precisely we make use of a grid of infrared beams that tracks both of the usersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; irises over time. This information is then converted into data that can be processed to control a rotational motor. The usersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; eye data gets translated into rotational data that is sent to a servo motor which controls the speaker box. The result is a speaker that reacts to where the listener looks. In this way, the sound is no longer static, it reacts in real time to the usersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; intention. 37


feedback box

projections

III

christina chen

Looping indefinitely, a simple idea realized by using the mechanism of feedback. The microphone hears itself through the speaker and amplifier again and again forming a continuous feedback loop. The slow rotating speaker alters the nature of the feedback gently with a modest turntable underneath. The entire work is encased with a 12”x12”x17” open box designed for the speaker movement to be clearly visible and to encourage physical interaction with listeners.

38


III

This artwork regards sound as a site, metal sheet as a boundary, and free-standing screws as people. The screws may move, collide, and fall according to the sound of group composition. Eventually, the screws stick to the speaker. Sound is emitted through the speaker, and because of the micro vibration that is sent to the magnetic piece beneath the speaker, the metal sheet shivers extremely quickly. The speaker provides choreography for screws as they collide with metal sheet. Metal sheet also gains magnetic field due to a long exposure to magnets so that depending on the time of exposure and number of bolts, sound of collision differs.

projections

attracted to...

doh lee

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III

the breath

projections

The sound piece is composed with mixed and distorted sound elements from everyday life, such as water flux, gadget clinks, footsteps and voices. The mirror engages the public by reflecting figures while the projected visuals illustrate the pace of everyday routines by depicting the loop of extensions and contractions. Recalling the moments of everyday situations, the project aims to explore the richness of plausible monotony of everyday life by approaching both the artificial and underneath layers of routine behaviors.

liang hai

40


This work is an open ended question: how can we use sound to re-shape static spaces through dynamic inputs? Explores the notion of using sound as a construction material.

all around you

Cycles, repetitions and phases are used in their most essential expression to build a trance inducing experience. The basic movement of rotating in an axis reveals the physicality of a sound present in space, a hypnotic experience of sound that moves and comes back to you in an infinite loop. Exploring the idea of being surrounded by a sound of many shadows. Exploring soundâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s physical characteristics to reveal a perceptual interaction between body and space.

nicole lâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;huillier 41

projections

III


projections

III

42


projections

III

/w:ll/

Examining the wall as an object, /w:ll/ presents this architectural archetype as an instrument by which users are able to affect the surrounding space through the creation and manipulation of sound. While sound is infinite, the wall is a physical limitation and barrier that juxtaposes this premise in that the wall is actually the source of its creation. The wall is often perceived as one unified element when in reality, it is composed of two surfaces. Any sound, signal, or other sensorial transmission is affected by the wall in its relation from one side to the other. In this installation, the two-sidedness of the wall as a producer/manipulator of sound is explored through the user’s interaction with it. On one side, it is encouraged to scratch, knock, rub, etc. the surface’s various textures as the resulting sounds are captured and then played back at amplified levels, exaggerating the sounds of these interaction with the wall. The wall’s other surface comes with a few additional toys: a mixer and a series of contact microphones. By hovering around the surface with these circular disks, the user will find that there are certain areas which will produce strange sounds when the microphones are pushed against the surface. Sounding happy, bored, sad, and angry these sounds are the result of feedback with speakers hidden in the wall. Varying the sounds through their movements across the two surfaces, the users play the wall much as one plays a musical instrument.

so yeon lim & mydung thi nguyen 43


pipe

An interactive sound installation where a large pipe becomes a hanging speaker whose length can be modulated (from 12' ­to 20') by the audience. As the speaker sounds, the audience is invited to feel the reverberations of the tube and adjust the length, thereby adjusting the reverberation and pitch of the sound.

projections

III

sean phillips

44


projections

performances

III

After months of plotting, testing, interweaving and splitting and recombining, forms lock to a grid. We set a performance timeline in order, retracing the sequence of ideas and inspirations so they can be rebroadcast through our kinetic speakers. Gaffer tape zig-zags the Cube floor, tethering the speakers to their final positions and to their coordinating hub. The room fills with visitors who bend ears to hissing paper, prod walls with contact mics, shove speakers and hoist ropes. Meanwhile, twin projector screens light up with video and visualization as we recite manifestos and reflections into a microphone below them. A cableheavy choreography, flitting from one corner of the room to another as the roving spectators follow the shifting locus of sonic and kinetic energy. andy stuhl

46


III

projections

open house & performative workshop april 23, 2016

47

poster designs by jose a. rivera

dynamic lecture & performance may 4, 2016


III

dynamic lecture & performance may 4, 2016

brian: live electronic music performance through the sound iris

adam: vogelin reading on sound experience

jan: introduction

mydung & so yeon: calvino-bruno-deutsch inpsired performance

projections

group composition sean: sine wave test doh: kinetic recording experiment

48


III

langston: the king resonates

nicole: la radia performance

xinyi: voice of avenue paulista

christina: video and field recording inspired by luc ferrari and norman mclaren

andy: electronic voice phenomena & acousmatic sounds

audio of performance: http://soundcloud.com/mitsoundcreations/final-performance-050416

49

projections

collective sound piece defused through the kinetic speakers

liang: the breath


thank acknowledgments

you

IV

Many thanks to the MIT program in Art, Culture, and Technology for housing the Experimental Sound Creations course and providing the resources and assistance for all of our projects. Particular thanks to ACTâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Seth Avecilla, Madeleine Gallagher, and John Steiner for tirelessly aiding and facilitating the production of our pieces and performances. We appreciate John and Madeleineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s additional help, along with photographers Ximena Bobadila and David Kinchen, in documenting these events. Our work in Experimental Sound Creations was made possible by the Grants Program of the Council for the Arts at MIT, whom we thank for their generous support.


Kinetic Speakers and Experimental Sound Creations 2016  

MIT ACT Course led by German composer and electronic musician Jan St. Werner. TA: José Rivera There is a profound relationship between sou...

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