Synthux Hackathon 2022

Spatial Transmutation

A manipulatable aural reflection of the ambient sounds of a space.
Daisy seed microcontroller
Touch sensor
Art installation

Coaches & collaborators

Colorado University, ATLAS institute
The project is based around the “Habitat” prompt kit. Inspired by the esoteric ideas of alchemical transmutation, the purpose behind the project is to have the participating subjects consider their surroundings and the ideas of the ambient noises within and around the seemingly mundane spaces they inhabit (their “habitat”) on a daily basis. This contemplation initiates a series of several interesting questions for the subject: which of these noises in their space can be considered “artful” or “beautiful?” Which of these are considered the opposite, being “harsh” or “undesirable?” How could these noises, both pleasant and harsh, be used or listened to from an artistic perspective? What would happen if the parameters of a room, space, or one’s surroundings were able to be controlled at will, or even fed back into the space and manipulated again? What would this action lead to? The goal, then, of this project is to entertain and answer these questions using sound by creating an “aurally distorted mirror” of an ambient space, which is done by producing an exaggerated reflection of the inherent ambient noises and sounds that occur naturally within a room. This transmutation of the ambient sounds of subject’s surroundings into a “dimension of exaggerated ambience” is produced willingly through the incorporation of interactive elements into the installation, inspired by the esoteric ideas of Hermetic philosophy and the alchemical processes and ideas of magick and transmutation. This “act of will” allows for the creative manipulation and interaction with the “habitat” from participating subjects, and allows them to consider how a simple act of will can manipulate the space and dimension around them.
No items found.
the tech

How does it work?

The installation is contained within a small room containing doorknobs that have been screwed into the walls. These doorknobs are wired to the Adafruit MPR121 12-Key Capacitive Touch Sensor Gator Breakout and serve as the installation's distributed touch sensors. A MAX9814 Electret microphone amplifier is placed in the center of the room and used to record the ambient room sounds. The microphone is toggled on and off using the doorknobs around the room. The recorded sound is sent to and stored as a sample inside of a sample bank in Puredata, thus beginning the signal processing chain. Part of the processing chain is manipulated by suspended Hall effect magnetic sensors that hang down from the ceiling to about waist level. As the participants walk in, they are given a small wand, with a high strength 'rare earth' magnet embedded in one side to control and interact with the magnetic sensors, manipulating the sound processing of the room. The wand is made of a pressure-sensitive conductive sheet wrapped around compressible foam, which is mapped to the dry/wet parameters of a reverb send. On the opposite end of the wand from the magnet is embedded the CdS photo-resistor light sensors, which can control the frequency filter processing. The room itself contains a dimmer switch to influence these light sensors.
Open source code
Click here to grab this project's code
Daisy seed microcontroller
A powerful microcontroller for synthesis programmed through C++, Arduino, Pure data and Max MSP
Touch sensor
A touch capacitance sensor can detect anything that is conductive
About the instrument
we're using cookies to run our site. privacy policy.