In 2017, I was asked to help design and fabricate three installations for the Sonic Arcade at the Museum of Art and Design in collaboration with Foo/Skou.
Martha Skou and Louise Foo had been working with Bare Conductive boards to trigger sounds on surfaces like cardboard, so when I began collaborating with them, the goal was to design all of the installations using CNC-cut wooden interfaces painted with conductive ink.
The installations would be set up on the landings of three stairwells in the museum, and last for the duration of the Sonic Arcade (four months) so they had to be robust in both their physicality as well as their code.
The first installation was made up of three wooden objects fabricated by Gustavo Bonet at Nodus Studios in Brownsville, Brooklyn. These objects were then painted with conductive ink and wired up to a Bare Conductive touch board. Martha and Louise designed sounds that played when visitors touched any of the three objects that reflected earth (the cube), fire (the pyramid), and water (the sphere).
Balance was the first of three "sound boards" that were designed to play sounds from Ableton Live. It consisted of a CNC-cut wooden panel by Nodus, and small CNC-cut squares that were coated with conductive ink. For these interfaces, I used the MPR121 capacitive touch boards and interfaced them with a Teensy microcontroller to simulate a MIDI controller. Sending MIDI messages to a computer, the sound boards could now be used to play any sound inside of Ableton.
This sound board had a similar design to Balance, but the board was coated with conductive ink before CNC-cutting, allowing for the zig-zag patterns seen on the surface. The sounds in this piece were pitch-shifted bird sounds combined with an arpeggiated synthesizer.
The final sound board was fabricated in a similar way to the previous two, but the sound design included vocal tones sung by Louise and Martha and modulated in Ableton by effects. There is also a heartbeat component in the center that can be played along with the vocal tracks.
The sound curtain was the third and final installation that I helped to produce, and it consisted of nine strands of 18 wooden shapes, all with unique CNC-cut patterns and coated with conductive ink. These were all hooked up to a Raspberry Pi with a capacitive touch hat. Using Python, the samples on the Pi could be manipulated with effects, fades, and filters as visitors touched each strand.
Spring/Break Art Show 2018