Antony Hall
Exhibitions & Projects | Biography & Press
| Works | Opto-acoustic modulator 2007

↪Opto-acoustic modulator, FACT 2007

↪Opto-acoustic modulator , FACT 2007

Opto-acoustic modulator
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.

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