J.R. Dooley

duo samples sounds present within the installation environment producing ambient-glitch music in response to changes in light, temperature and movement. Two systems consisting of a computer, audio interface, microphone, loudspeaker and Arduino with sensors respond autonomously to these stimuli; one system produces percussive material, whilst the other generates melodic material. When sound is detected by one of the systems it is sampled and processed according to the values received from sensors connected to an Arduino. The result produces an interaction between sounds already present within the environment and sounds produced by the systems. Sounds emitted from one system may trigger the record module of the other system. A feedback loop then occurs when acoustic and electronic sounds are resampled by both systems creating an extra level of interaction between the two.

Changes in sensor data operate on two levels: a macro and micro level. The macro level refers to changes that occur over long periods of time, such as the change in light levels during the day. Micro changes are concerned with the short term, where a person may walk past a photoresistor and alter the values temporarily.

duo is both generative and interactive. Audience members are able to influence the development of material, either intentionally or non-intentionally, through their actions and noises. Without the audience duo is capable of continually generating and developing material in response to itself. Through an iterative process duo not only uses environmental sounds, but generates sounds that become part of the soundscape it is sampling.

Installation notes

The two master patches provided (duo-filterSynth.pd and duo-percussion.pd) are each run on a separate computer. An Arduino with a light, temperature and PIR motion sensor will be connected to each computer. The Arduino board should be loaded with the 'Standard-Firmata' sketch (available in the Arduino software). This is needed to communicate with Pd. The light, temperature and PIR sensors should be connected to analogue ins 1-2 and digital in 1, respectively, of the Arduino board. Suitable sensors are:

  • 5k photoresistor with 10k resistor
  • 5 thermistor with 10k resistor

Also connected to the computer is an audio interface. Via the audio interface, the computer receives and outputs a mono audio signal. More than one microphone may be used to increase the acoustic capture field, though only one loudspeaker should be used to outut the sounds from the patch. The above configuration should be repeated for each 'instrument' of duo, with a total of two Arduinos with sensors, two computers, two microphones and two loudspeakers. Each instrument is placed in a different location within the installation environment. It is important that all instruments can be heard, so the placement of each system should not be too far apart. This also increases the amount of sonic interaction between the two systems. Equally, it is important that the placement of each instrument is so the sensors don't necessarily react identically. This would destroy the subtle changes and 'out of phase' character that sometimes occurs.

All project files can be found at www.github.com/jrdooley/trio. trio is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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