learning the ropes

things I made at ITP and after: sketches, prototypes, and other documentation

Monday, April 9, 2007


On Saturday, Shlomit and I built another prototype of our audio art installation.

We went to Home Depot in search of bamboo and springs, but came back with 1/2″ (ID) PVC and cast iron flanges.

PVC Prototype 007   PVC Prototype 006   PVC Prototype 004   PVC Prototype 005   PVC Prototype 003

The bamboo remains a cost-effective option ($1.79 for a package of 4-5 x 5′ stalks).

We attached 3/4″ x 1/2″ reducing adapters onto one end of ~5′ x 1/2″ (i.d.) PVC pipes and screwed them into a 3/4″ flanges mounted on a sheet of plywood. We painted the PVC poles hunter green to loosely reference a field of tall grass.

PVC Prototype 008

We created the prototype with two poles on it to see how the poles would flex as people move through them.

PVC Prototype 011

PVC Prototype 009   PVC Prototype 025   PVC Prototype 012

It was a great day to work outside and we were pleased with the progress we made.

Construction Lessons
- When cutting plywood, cut through the side you wish to display so the ragged edges are hidden
- Plan the flange installation better so the holes will line up on the top and bottom playwood pieces
- We will need to custom cut a 4′x8′ plywood sheet to get the 6′x3′ installation we want

We made further progress as we began to discuss the sound of the field. Both of us were drawn to the opening bars of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. The was some initial confusion about whether we were listening to the “Rite of Spring” or the “Firebird Suite”, but I resolved that as of this writing. The solo oboe (or perhaps clarinet?) provides a mysterious sonic backdrop for exploring a new space. We plan to edit a small sample from the first track and control its playback using the sensors we are planning to attach to the PVC poles. As users enter the installation, they will have the opportunity to push their way through our sound field. Each subsequent PVC pole they push will play the next piece of the sample we’ve chosen. If they walk push through the field at the right speed (according to the mood of the selected piece), they will hear the melody as they move.

posted by Michael at 11:54 pm  

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