Summer of Sound - Illument
This is a project that I created while I was studying on Sonic Arts post graduate programme which is being offered at Istanbul Technical University. I tried to create a performance environment which is actually not an instrument but something that can be still performed and requires no musical knowledge. The reason for this was to put aside the conventional harmonic obligations and to focus more on the timbral qualities of the sound outcome which is a feature of the concrete music that I observed throughout my studies as a sonic artist.
After having been introduced to an Arduino Uno board I decided to use it for creating a device for sound triggering in this project. At this point I needed to decide on an input type to be triggered. I thought that it would be cool to play it with a couple of light sources such as regular flashlights, maybe with strobe mode or some other sources like candles etc. So I picked 6 LDRs and connected them to my Arduino board using 2 breadboards and my simple interface was ready to pick up and send data to the computer to create the sound. Before moving on to the sound synthesis part I created a patch in Arduino IDE to handle incoming data, mapping them into values between 0-1000, 0 for the darkest and 1000 for the brightest. I used the maximum possible baud rate which was 115200 for transferring this data into the computer to make it react smoothly.
For the sound generation task I decided to use SuperCollider sound synthesis platform. I created several virtual instruments using UGens of SuperCollider which are the tools for handling sound input/output, providing infinite ways of sound manipulation. The sound generators I used are such as sinus and pulse wave oscillators and several buffer players which are loaded with sound samples that I picked and edited beforehand. I mapped the incoming data to these instruments' various parameters as for my taste.
After being able to manipulate these sound sources with my lighters, I decided to find a way to fire sounds depending on the light exposure amount. After some brain stroming I came up with an idea of separating these 6 sensors into two groups of 3 and implemented a pairwise relationship from left group to right group.
As the relationship is displayed in the image above, for every simultaneous light exposure to these pairs there is being fired a sound event. I assigned different exposure time rules for every pair so for example if pair of a and b is exposed to light for 12 seconds, their related sound gets triggered or pair of c and f are exposed for 8 seconds their sound gets also triggered etc. If the light exposure to any of these pairs stop for that amount of time, their sound gets muted.
With these implementation details it came out a mysterious sonic experimental device for any performer not knowing these sound triggering times. You can watch my demonstration videos to get a first impression of the device itself. I haven't published the SuperCollider code on any platform but I'm always open to share it with anyone willing to use or change it for their own good and also for the community.