Antinodal

Antinodal

This piece, part of Primary Colours’ Installation Nation is a participatory listening piece where people can experience the ambient soundscape filtered by polycarbonate tubes into a pleasant drone.

The tubes are cut to lengths that resonate at frequencies tuned to the pentatonic scale–so that by placing different tubes to each ear, various harmonies may be enjoyed. Requiring no power or circuitry, Antinodal nonetheless provides a subtle shift to the sounds in the outdoor space around the participant to evoke a playful sense of mindfulness. Visually, the piece is mysterious (and a little intimidating), but engagement with it reveals its benign fun.

sound object
Media: plywood, polycarbonate tubes, plastic chair
Dimensions: 6 m x 1.5 m x 1.24 m
Year: 2017
In production

© 2018 chad eby

Empathy Test

Empathy Test

(This is not the story I wanted to tell you)

Part of Sound Through Barriers, Empathy Test explores the sounds of a machine model of self-recognition, approach/avoidance behavior and the inevitability of any measurement to alter the thing measured. Randomly generated pulses serve both to drive the servomotors’ positions as well as to be interpreted as sound when a motor position brings it into the field of a pick-up coil. The piece is open to completion by the viewer (since it has no overt content) but is simultaneously a kind of mystery—since it is not clear to the viewer whether or not s/he is influencing the production of sound. The piece approaches the idea of “barrier” in terms of the limits of communication…what can be recognized, understood or spoken.

sound object
Media: five gallon plastic bucket and lid, steel casters, two-way speaker, D-class amplifier. passive mixer, Arduino microcontroller, servo motors, laser cut plywood, 9 and 12v, transformers, wiring, custom software written with the Arduino IDE
Dimensions: 43cm x 33cm x 33cm
Year: 2012
Pre-viz drawings

© 2018 chad eby

stopfmaschine

stopfmaschine

stopfmaschine employs active infra-red sensors and light dependent resistors to drive a microcontroller-hosted granular synthesis engine and trigger recorded samples of the clicks of dying hard drives and the groans of stress-induced metal fatigue. A servo-driven pendulum modulates the live sound synthesis based on viewer presence and proximity. stopfmaschine was exhibited at Gro{o}ve, a show curated by Professor Margaret Schedel at SUNY Stony Brook’s SAC Gallery, New York. Seven international sound artists were selected to present new sound object work; All of the pieces were both sonic and sculptural, and most were, in some way, aware of viewers in the space.
sound object
Media: microcontroller, electronics, custom code
Dimensions: 30 cm x 40 cm x 4 cm
Year: 2010
stopfing

© 2018 chad eby

Intonarumori 2.0

Intonarumori 2.0

Intonarumori 2.0 is a digital reinterpretation of the Italian Fututrist Luigi Russolo’s Intonarumori noise instruments. As in the original, a hand-crank is turned on the back of the boxy device to produce noises from the front. In this updated version, six levers are added, each corresponding to:

Roars, Thunderings, Explosions, Hissing roars, Bangs, Booms

Whistling, Hissing, Puffing

Whispers, Murmurs, Mumbling, Muttering, Gurgling

Screeching, Creaking, Rustling, Buzzing, Crackling, Scraping

Noises obtained by beating on metals, woods, skins, stones, pottery, etc.

Voices of animals and people, Shouts, Screams, Shrieks, Wails, Hoots, Howls, Death rattles, Sobs

By turning the crank and manipulating the levers, an orchestra of noise may be produced.

“Let us cross a great modern capital with our ears more alert than our eyes and we will get enjoyment from distinguishing the eddying of water, air and gas in metal pipes, the grumbling noises that breathe and pulse with indisputable animility, the palpitation of waves, the coming and going of pistons, the howl of mechanical saws, the jolting of the tram on its rails, the cracking of whips, the flapping of curtains and flags.”

Luigi Russolo
sound object
Media: microcontrollers, re-purposed electronics, custom code
Dimensions: 30 x 12 x 16 inches
Year: 2007/2008
As exhibited at UWF

© 2018 chad eby

Nielsen Slit

Nielsen Slit

Nielsen Slit is a generative analog sound piece consisting of a portable TV that generates a new soundtrack to the over-the-air programming it receives based on the luminance values of the video image as detected by sensors attached directly to the screen. Sadly, the piece ceased to function as intended on June 12, 2009 when NTSC broadcasts were suspended in the U.S.

sound object
Media: portable television, custom electronics
Dimensions: variable
Year: 2007
As exhibited

© 2018 chad eby

Babel

Babel

“But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The LORD said, "If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”

Genesis 11:5-7, New International Version

In the piece Babel, a decommissioned coin-operated pachislo (a Japanese hybrid pachinko/slot machine) is repurposed as a speaking device. To elicit an utterance, a participant inserts three coins, and then spins the three reels together by nudging a lever; pressing an illuminated button under each reel stops the reels one by one.

I have replaced the familiar bells, watermelons and sevens on the reels with Andrew Comstock’s 1846 engravings of lips and mouths, frozen in the process of pronouncing the sounds that make up English words. When the machine utters a recognizable English word, coins pour out of the machine into a bin below.

This playful piece also requires more active participation from the viewer. Until activated by inserting coins, it stands silent. That the participation takes the form of gambling is a reminder of the close ties between language, chance, and divination. Also the metaphorical similarity between language and money (exemplified by the English idiom “to coin a phrase”) was argued for by Boethius, who compared the transformation of sounds into words to the transformation of metal into coins through a significant impression.

sound object
Media: microcontrollers, altered gambling machine, custom code
Dimensions: 15 x 18 x 32 inches
Year: 2006
As exhibited

© 2018 chad eby