All posts by michellexen


With the song and music video shot for MY CELLS I just spent this morning doing one final cell extraction at The Edge with Mick our Program Officer…

The great irony is that after shaving a part of my head (to increase cell growth), and then pulling out a few hundred hairs at the root in order to extract and grow the skin cells – the images from this morning’s blood samples have been the most effective to document! They are really effective to document, with a lot of dynamic motion, beautiful transparency and varying density.

With the MY CELLS video in the final stages of editing, keying out the green screen and working the cell footage… I am close to getting ready for the preview on Saturday at SOUND Select!!!



Sound Select
In the lead up to Saturday’s SoundSelect event we wrap up the Sound program, the Sound types at The Edge have been preparing their live shows, light-sound costuming, editing video, growing cells and building interactive sound installations.

The event opens officially at 5:00pm and runs to 8:00pm with an open soundcheck demo and talk from 4:00pm.

This event includes:



Cell Harvesting | My Cells | A catalyst collaboration


First batch of propagated skin cells

So whilst Fringes Catalyst, Svenja Kratz, travels Northern Europe expanding her bio-arts practice and research, I am continuing to develop the My Cells music video project. Scientist Annette Spierings, and I will be working at IHBI (Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation) next Monday to harvest another range of skin and blood cells for propagation. The initial cell propagation involved pulling out about 100-200 hairs from the root around the hairline (thanks Svenja for stepping in there…)


Initial cell propagation at the IHBI labs

As hair growth slows with hair length, the skin cells from hair follicles of shorter hair are more viable than longer hair. My hair is relatively long, resulting in weaker cell growth; Svenja’s hair is cropped short and had remarkably higher cell division with her earlier propagations. Next Monday we will be propagating new batches of cells for imaging for the final cut of the My Cells music video. By keying the green screen (see more on the green screen shoot here) the footage of the cell propagation is incorporated into the music video. I will post an excerpt of the video shortly, as I edited the clip for its preview at The Edge Sound Select live event.



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Sound Hunter II – Circle Synth Loops


Following on from the Sound Hunter II workshop, I have been creating a few patches and a bunch of loops for download and use. Circle Synth from Future Audio Workshop is a VST software synthesizer that combines analogue wave emulation with more contemporary wavetables, filters, bitcrushers, sequencers, arpeggiators and effects. The interface is really intuitive, and features a visual wavetable (pictured), and a colour coded routing system for your patch chain. You can download a demo, but I selected this plugin to work with because it is a really affordable piece of software… i.e. <$100.


The Sound Hunter Dropbox now holds a folder for synthesized royalty free samples and Circle Synth patches. You can make these sounds yourself using the Circle Synth plugin or just start up a track with the royalty-free samples uploaded. I will be adding new samples over the next week to the folder for download. Stay posted.


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Sound Hunter I – Field to Sample

the edge Sound Hunter

Following on from our sampling session in Sound Hunter I | Field to Sample, I have broken down our field recordings into over 100 royalty-free samples ready for use in your own sonic constructions! Just follow the Dropbox link for listening and downloading. Over the next week the Sound Hunter Dropbox will hold over 500 royalty free samples for use in experimenting with sound composition.

This series has seen a collection of interested artists, musicians and general experimenters recording sound found along the riverside of South Bank and inside the SLQ precinct. We used a range of recording devices, from the Zoom H4n, Zoom Q3HD, Samsung and iPhone smartphones.  The sounds range from ambient, percussive, incidental, drone-like, noisy, complex and bell-like. I have taken these raw files (featuring a range of quality files from a range of input mics) and cut them up into a range of samples. If you click the Dropbox link you will see they are organised into a range of sonic descriptors such as crackle, noise, tap, kick, crunch, melodic, ambient etc. Feel free to download!

See you soon. Mxen

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My Cells Music Video Shoot

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Shoot! As part of my time here at the Edge as Sound Catalyst, I am engaging with former Fringes Catalyst, Svenja Kratz, in isolating and growing my skin cells for imaging. We will then take this cell growth documentation and animate it for use in a music video.

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The open shoot ran on Tuesday this week, and went exceptionally well… with preliminary keying tests coming up trumps! (This essentially means that when we select the green colour in the video frame, it selects cleanly, allowing us to layer imagery of the cell growth.)

If you are interested in the processes of animation, keying, editing and cutting to sound, come along to our open post production session coming up next week.

See you soon. Mxen

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Sound Hunterrrrrs


Hey Peeps…

Michelle Xen here, about to embark on the last of the Sound Hunter workshops this coming weekend.

The Sound Hunter series has seen us take to the rivers edge collecting ambient noise from the Brisbane river and the cultural centre caverns and spaces. With all the intensive listening going on we have managed to collect sound from just about anything we can tap, scrape, hit, rustle, or simply observe. With a wealth of resonant spaces (such as the Cultural Centre carpark) we also discovered much glorious reverb on the existing hums and echos in the space. We now have a range of sound files I am cutting up, cleaning up and organising for upload to our Edge Dropbox for you to share in >>> Ready soon!

Tomorrow will be our final Sound Hunter workshop where we will take our samples and begin to effect and construct them into sonic spaces, songs or scores. Come along, the deets are HERE.

Come Sound Hunting!!

See you soon. Mxen

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