Alec Gear PC Final

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Final Project

2-3' Matte acrylic sphere, referencing air molecule. Suspended by fishing line at 5-10 points. Fishing line is attached to a stepper motor at other end. The "molecule" reacts to sound. Servo motors (muted by foam housing units) pull and give slack, LEDs inside the sphere blink, (almost too quickly to be perceived) in an evolving polyrhythmic pattern (like Indian raga, like Steve Reich: electrical energy, life), and a microphone picks up sound and plays back the formants. Spatialization would be nice. Set of four speakers in a square around the "molecule". Installed in Lester Martin, Margot Tenney, suspended from catwalks. Total darkness except for light from molecule. Sound activates the space. Molecule has a dormant state, with unchanging LED blinks (dim). LED blinks evolve into something more complex by staggering the start times for blinks. This means that the rhythm will be constantly evolving.

Sound as trigger. How will the mic work? Handheld, w/ button to isolate specific sonic events? Extremely sensitive so that everything including footsteps is picked up and responded to? With delay time of three seconds, this would be interesting: utterance and reflection, slowed down version of molecule movement.

Revision of Final Project

I am going to create an immersive performance environment composed of color, light, and sound. I will draw from Turrell's work with color and light to create specific perceptual experiences and the Bauhaus concept of total theater in which there is no clear separation between audience and performance. The environment that I am creating will be a depthless world composed of pure color. Musicians will be housed in amorphous structures that loom out of the world that the audience walks within. Light will be generated by projectors projecting animations made in Processing. The entire space will be filled with fog generated by a fog machine. The animations will be projected into the fog. This will create a space that is depthless, ephemeral, and ever-changing. I will be using semitransparent polyethylene sheeting stretched over wooden frames to manipulate the projections and to construct the structures that the musicians will play within. Each musician's structure will be sealed off from the world that the audience walks within. There will be light inside of the musicians' structures, projecting each performer's silhouette onto the polyethylene.

As the audience walks through the piece, they will experience different spatializations of sound. Their movement will also subtly control the Processing animations. The piece should feel like a complete world. Through this complete world, I hope to create a meditative experience that inspires wonder in my audience.

It will look something like this:


Research LPC (starting points for LPC analysis in Max) max object resource Bill Nye on science of sound

Research Pt. 2

Beginning work with image manipulation in processing.

Initial attempt to work with pixel manipulation

Second attempt at pixel manipulation

3rd attempt at pixel manipulation. Result of combination and modification of some preexisting code. Finally, I have more control. Pixel groups are summed and then represented in small equilateral triangles. Mouse movement controls color. Hopefully, I can figure out a way to work with individual pixels. After hours of reading through forums, this is the closest I've come.

Research Pt. 3

Trying to figure out the most effective/cost effective DIY pressure sensor:

I'm considering making my own FSRs: 1 or 2/sq ft. and then sandwiching them between large sheets of inexpensive foam material that has some rigidity. My hope is that the foam material will transfer some weight to the FSRs when people are not standing directly on top of them.

Materials: and. some sort of foam material to cover the FSRs.

Revision of Materials:

For a 14'x14' space, and 1 FSR/2'x2' square I need to build 49 1"x1" FSRs

To build each FSR I need 2 1"x1" sections of copper PC board and 1 1"x1" section of high density conductive foam.

To build 49 FSRs I need 98 1"x1" sections of copper PC board and 49 1"x1" sections of high density conductive foam.

To build this, I can use:


Total Cost: about $21

Both should be here by the weekend.

Pixel Manipulation

Geared towards the Kinect, but detailed and concise:

Shows values of every pixel in an image:

Attempt to read pixel values:

Reading analog data from an FSR w/ arduino and using the serial output to control content in processing

Materials for FSRs arrived today. FSR #1 complete. Working with my test sketch. Very responsive. Very sensitive.

Material for floor -or-

Had an enlightening conversation with Miles. Switching the flooring material from semi-rigid foam to 1/8" plywood. Cheaper. Just as responsive. Will act like entire floor is pressure sensitive when in reality there is one pressure sensor per 2'x2' space.


Instead of focusing on melody, harmony, and rhythm the spectralist composers conceive of music as a series of timbrally unique and specific sonic events or objects.

Giacinto Scelsi's orchestral work

Tristan Murail's orchestral works

Models and Artifice (Murail's collected writings and lectures)

Music before the Western tonal system was focused on timbral relationships. There were notations for specific timbres, etc. Timbre is more nuanced than harmony. In the past 700 years we've departed from a more nuanced way of interacting with the world we live in.

The Bauhaus concept of total theater and their theories of spatial relations

Analog manipulation of light and distortion of perception by early animators:

Lazlo Moholy Nagy's kinetic sculpture/light box for film

To me, analog manipulation of image is more compelling. The results of analog manipulation are more nuanced, are breathing, alive. Digital is base compared to the complexity of everything in existence.

Natural philosophy vs. modern science

Attempting to quantify vs. understanding/experiencing

Artist Inspiring My Work

James Turell

Interviews and Talks

Still from a space Turrell created for performance:

Phillip Glass and Hai-Ting Chinn performing part of Glass's "Einstein on the Beach" in Turrell's Guggenheim installation

Collaboration between Turrell and Dana Reitz

Article on Turrell's Ganzfeld work’s-ganzfeld-experiment/

Description from his site: “Ganzfeld”: a German word to describe the phenomenon of the total loss of depth perception as in the experience of a white-out. Turrell artificially creates a similar experience through the controlled use of light, coved corners and an inclined floor.

Selected Images


Session 10 Concept completely hashed out.

Session 11 Prototype of the physical space complete. Ready to begin working with arduino and processing.

Plan Day First attempt at arduino and processing integration. I'm planning to meet with Chris to troubleshoot the issues I'll run into.

Session 12 Fog machine tested. FSRs built. FSRs working with processing. Materials hashed out.

Session 13 Pressure sensitive floor complete and working with Processing.

Session 14 Polyethylene walls complete. All technical issues resolved.