Sound

The Context

The Sound programming period provided an opportunity to examine how art, science and technology intersect with sound. As was typical with programming periods, this program stretched across six months and presented a range of learning experiences and opportunities to The Edge community. It also gave us a chance to deepen engagements with existing communities, such as the Producers Club fortnightly meetup.

The Nuts and Bolts

The six month sound program had a number of components:

  • Catalyst role: Michelle Xen
  • Residency: Daniel Bartos’ Sound Extrusions
  • Internships: Matt Davis and Emmanuel Martinez
  • Workshops: Sound Hunter, DIY Acoustic Treatment
  • Partnership events: 2013 Little BigSound, The CAVE (Centre For Audio Visual Experimentation)
  • Pilot event: Step By Step Music Carer Workshop
  • Showcase event: SoundSelect

SoundSelect brought together the broader Edge community and participants from the above activities in a relaxed, social environment. The showcase event consisted of a program of performances, talks and installations including:

  • Sound Catalyst Michelle Zen, her band and her workshop participants performing an open sound check, live set and exclusive preview of music video for My Cells
  • Edge Sound Resident Daniel Bartos provided a work in progress presentation for Sound Extrusions
  • Interactive sound installations by Edge Interns Matt Davis and Emmanuel Martinez
  • Live set from Andrew Gibbs of the CAVE
  • Members of The Edge’s fortnightly music meetup, Producers Club, Rose Carrousel and special guests, perform a live set

Daniel Bartos

About

Be it a five-month long private research trip in search of yidaki in Arnhem Land or exploring surfing in Central America, Daniel has travelled the world in his pursuit of sounds. While at The Edge Daniel completed a sound residency, whilst completing his PhD at Griffith University and running a multimedia collaboration with FAMU (Film School in Prague).

You can also read about Daniel’s time at The Edge on our blog.

Daniel’s Work

Daniel’s residency project, Sound Extrusions, involved craft and working with set of porcelain design speakers and real-time data sonification patch in MAX/MSP. The idea for the Sound Extrusions installation came from trying to create an interacting, living sound element. The organic-looking porcelain shapes are in fact an 8-channel audio installation creating interactive soundscape based on the position of the listener.

The actual use of porcelain crafting proved to be quite an exciting and innovative experiment in acoustics and porcelain design as well. Most of the soundscapes are built around recordings from Daniel’s live electronica performance project, ElectroDidjeridoo. This project also explores an exciting mixture of organic acoustical sounds and electronics.

The installation behaves as a living element. When it notices movement in the space it plays a start-up sequence and “stretches out” and plays its feature song. From this point on, as people move around the space it will follow them, playing to them as they go. All of the shapes are amplified resonators using vibration speakers and deliver spatial hearing experience across all the surface of the installation which is suspended off the ceiling.

The shapes are slip casted and worked in porcelain. Interaction is programmed in MAX/MSP using a live video feed. Sound spatial distribution is realised in Ambisonic engine driving an 8-channel audio setup. Vibration drivers (visible half-spheres attached to the shapes) are turning the porcelain shapes into resonant speakers itself.


Michelle Xen

About

Michelle Xen is a vocalist, producer and visual artist, maker of video and sound installations, collector of words, chaser of songs, seamstress of strange shapes, sequins and other experiments with colour. She has a vibrant performance practise, along with her band The Neon Wild, and recently released her debut EP Synaethesiac, recorded while in New York and Berlin. Michelle joined The Edge as a Catalyst for six months in 2013 to provide her expertise in the area of sound.

You can also read about Michelle’s time at The Edge on our blog.

Michelle’s Work

Michelle Xen

Michelle Xen

Sound Hunter workshop series

Field to Sample: In the first workshop of the series, participants took to the streets and riverbank of The Edge to record a range of sonic textures. With recording devices loaded with sound they then headed into the labs at The Edge to upload and cut recordings into a range of samples and sounds.

Waveform to Sample: The second session was focused on using a DAW and sound plugin to experiment and generate synthesised sound. The workshop explored types of waveforms, effects envelopes, arpeggiators, and filters and participants learned the difference between midi and audio, recording and saving, and synthesised sample and patch creation.

Effecting organic and sythesised sound: Using the sounds recorded and generated from previous workshops a range of effects were applied to change and morph existing local sounds. The basics of delay, reverb, compression, EQ, and filtering were covered, along with a discuss on how experimentation with effects can lead to new ways of hearing and producing sound.

Interactive Light Costumes for Performance
Michelle, in collaboration with microelectronics engineer Michael Maggs, demonstrated their use of sound-controlled, light costumes in this presentation. These costumers explore the relationship between a performer’s body and sound, light, gesture and garment.

SoundSelect
As part of SoundSelect, Michelle performed her new single and previewed her new film clip for My Cells, produced in collaboration with Fringes Catalyst, Svenja Kratz.

Further Reading