modulator, FACT 2007
modulator , FACT
I developed the Opto-acoustic modulator piece which also
an also used the muio USB interface to create an interactive
work with FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology)
and Liverpool John Moores University for National Science
and Engineering Week 2007.
This is an instrument which uses light as the control mechanism.
It both transmits and receives audio data through light radiation.The
optical interface uses light sensors and lenses to control
MAX MSP software. The darkened space is located with glowing
rock crystals which are the prime source of visual input
for the participant. This encourages movement among the light
sources in the room; which in-turn causes changes in the
ambient sound environment itself. LEDs of different colours
transmit sound, which can be detected using the photo sensors.
Where the beams of the LEDs cross the sounds intermix.
This project is based on an early experiment in sound recording,
where a water jet was used to amplify and record sound to
a wax cylinder. A laser (rather than a water jet) can be
used to amplify & transmit minute inaudible sounds. With
this technique it is possible to hear the sound of light
through modulation and reflection. For example it can be
used as an instrument able to detect the high frequency modulations
from electronic light, and create techno beats from a bicycle
light. By using a modified laser projected through a droplet
of fluid - or 'Fluid lens' it is possible to create a sensitive
microphone. If this lens also contains microscopic creatures,
their movements will generate sound by creating distortions
with the movement of their body and antennas - this lens
also responds to subsonic architectural 'sound’
This idea was developed through a number of workshops; Firstly
working with Arts catalyst with the exhibition Space Soon
at Roundhouse London. Later I experimented with this idea
through a Sound-network collaborative project. Further development
was possible through a CARA action research project (Rolls-Royce
Science Prize) - for which the idea was developed to make
a permanent interactive work.
The earliest experiment using the concept of AM transmission
was made at Bell Laboratories - where they used a water jet
to record the conversation and ambient sounds in a room and
etch these to wax cylinder. CV Boys demonstrates the ability
of a water jet to amplify the sound of a ticking clock and
a tuning fork. (CV boys - Soap Bubbles and the forces that
mould them) - the water jet is used to amplify the sound
form the clock.