Theory in praxis

I think most of you are aware of the Electromagnetic Fountain project I’m working on, and I would like to share some thoughts on this with you. The fountains water jets and lights are to be controlled by the properties of the digitized sound that is emitted from its electromagnetic detectors. The sounds are erratic; they scream, pop and rush. Some of them are regular, and pulse-like, such as those emitted from wireless networks. Some have a pattern of sorts (mobile phone transmission and reception). These are digital transmissions. Analog transmissions and leakages from street lights, etc, occur more like waves than pulses – but can break up into crackles, and they can howl and scream. How can I address these sounds, encompassing both the experience of them (phenomenological) and an analysis of them? There are 3 stages that I have identified for my approach:

1. Listening to the detectors, and identifying:
– how they make me feel
– the source of the signals (mobile phone, electrical leakage, etc) and where its coming from (cell phone tower, street light, etc)

2. Without thinking about the above, giving the sounds phenomenological descriptors (light/heavy/soft/hard/bright/dark/sharp ….)

3. Searching for what kinds of sound analysis (spectra, sound envelope, frequency, amplitude, etc) I should use as source for controlling the 2 pumps (analog) 5 water valves (digital) and 8 rgb, colour changing led lights.

4. Putting theory into practice by trying different strategies out on the fountain, and sensing the results. In other words, returning to the start of the equation, which is me, and asking how does this make me feel!

To be able to carry out points 2 and 3, I am delving in to the realms of theory related to sound phenomenology, analysis and organisation. I am reading the following publications to help me sort out my thoughts, and to be able to communicate my ideas to sound people who may be able to assist me:

Understanding the Art of Sound, Leigh Landy, The MIT press, ISBN 2007. 978-0-262-12292-4

The Sounding Object, Phenomenology of Sound Events, Report version: 1.0, 2001, Project co-ordinator, University of Verona.


2 Responses to “Theory in praxis”

  1. richardo78 Says:

    Thanks. I`ll check out the books.

  2. ajsteggell Says:

    The sounding object is a research report that you can download and print out, approx. 80 pages. Richardo, I am going to have a meeting with Trond Lossius next Friday (time to be decided later this week) to discsuss the issues mentioned in this post, and in relation to max/msp. Mattias will join, and perhaps you’d like to come along too if you don’t have to deal with your installation then.

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