In Green, I continue my exploration of the processes found in nature and in other large and complex systems, and the potential of computer programs to model or simulate such systems within time-based artworks. Within my most recent interactive installations and performances, patterns of behavior are fixed and defined only by the algorithmic process specified within the computer program embedded within the micro-controller which is part of each work. These algorithmic processes are designed to simulate the manner of operation of physical and natural systems. In particular, Green isolates the elements of rhythm and spatial orientation, using many small speakers as sound sources, with only the most basic of sounds (small clicks and pulses) to create a spatially and rhythmic studies that are based on the natural soundscape found in meadows in midwestern North America.
Green, like much of my recent sound-based installation work, makes use of mechanical and other “direct” sound production techniques that may be controlled by a computer program. These techniques in the past have included the use of small motors to strike metal objects, piano wires, etc. and are often kinetic in nature. In Green, I use small loudspeakers, not in the normal sense to reproduce sound waves, but rather as small kinetic machines, which I send pulses (on/off voltages only) which “twitch” and “tap” the loudspeaker – treating it like a simple mechanical noise-maker.
Green uses home-made and custom programmed microcontrollers - single chip computers - to generate all sound that is heard. The piece is driven by algorithms coded into each board, with all sounds being produced by these algorithms. Each loudspeaker is powered by a microcontroller, and can make only simple and quiet sounds (by literally turning the speaker on and off only – so, small clicks, buzzes, etc. are all that is possible). The piece gains volume and complexity through the multiplicity of speakers (32) and through their synchronization (provided by the algorithms within the microcontrollers).
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