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subnet, Austria, September 2020

'Closed System'


Closed System is an audio-visual work, presented online as the result of the residency with subnet and Schmiede 2020.

Many thanks to both organisations for inviting me to participate in this project and supporting my current research into adapting discarded technology to become sound making systems and devices.

The complete version of the audio and visual work Closed System can be viewed on YouTube by clicking the above image.

A shorter edited version showing key aspects of the work can be viewed on Vimeo by clicking the above image.

PLEASE! Use headphones or good quality speakers and watch on as large a screen or monitor as possible for full detail and effect!!

This is the first mastered version of the session with no edits. It will be further reworked, refined, mastered and uploaded to Bandcamp.

The Aforementioned conclusions...

During this project I found myself hitting a number of unexpected barriers... but this did determine the direction it finally took.


In brief, the idea I had (to power the cooling system using sound impulses) was not possible. The motors only function when supplied with a full 12 volt supply, and nothing less. This also meant I could not change the speed, which I hoped to do to change the pitch of some of the tones produced.


Returning to using Arduino to control the motors, I programmed both of them to function on and off randomly for a period of time (approximately 7 minutes), then to run at a constant speed. With both of these 'scenes' or movements I then investigated the sounds generated across the system using contact mics, a hydrophone and a cardioid lavalier mic.


The six mics source sounds from six different positions and they are fed into Ableton Live where each can be controlled and manipulated independently.


The idea arose to perform or compose with those six inputs, using the live feed from the cooling system. This is quite a development for me, as I have never used the programme in this way, automating parameters of a live sound. And as the processing of the signals became more automated, the project became more of an installation idea.


The results have been successful, but not that exciting! I am using more software plug-in effects than I normally would and I am having my own issues with this, but they do add some nice colour and texture to the sounds.


I mentioned that I considered presenting the work live, performing with it, but as the project developed I then decided to present it as an installation with the sounds heard through speakers.


Conversely it has become a composed piece of approximately 30 minutes in length, so maybe it is more suitable to present in performance perhaps (performing itself with very little needed from me!). It does seem to fall between categories, if any are needed.


The project has certainly caused me to ask myself a large number of questions and posed many problems, not on a technical level, but much more on creative levels. I feel ultimately that it has been an exercise, a testing period and although for me not a success, has given me more options and ideas to apply to future projects.

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