LumièrophoneThis week I was very happy to present at The Sounds of the Silents, an event at the University of Edinburgh about the history of film sound. There were some amazing lectures and demonstrations from historians and foley artists and more. dsc_5323My presentation was about the Lumièrophone, a screen that I made with Kristina Johansen. As you can see from the photo, this screen has light sensors sewn onto the surface. These sensors control a synthesizer I built that generated sound based on what was projected on the screen. All the sound was thus generated in real time, and without any computers or anything, just a 9 volt battery and some speakers. The Lumièrophone (named after Auguste and Louis)was designed especially for the showing of an abstract film by Walter Ruttman, and I think it worked very well! You can see a video for yourself:

The Gelkies in Dundee

The Gelkies will be at the Hannah Maclure Gallery in Dundee as part of the “Word Games” exhibit with Gayle Meikle. The opening is tonight at 6pm, and the show continues until July 17th. Here is the text that will accompany the piece:

The Gelkie is a strange and mythical creature, whose very existence was in doubt until recently. Native to Scotland, the Hannah Maclure Centre is delighted to present these highly endangered specimens in something resembling their natural habitat. Researchers are still puzzling over their mating habits, but what is clear is that male and female Gelkies must form pairs in order to communicate in their peculiar language of light and sound. A solitary Gelkie is a sad sight indeed, unable to express the slightest noise. But while they naturally form couples, scientists are perplexed by their tendency to spend most of their lives arguing. With time, and your support, Gelkies can flourish throughout Scotland. Please contact the Scottish Gelkie Appreciation Society (SGAS) for information about how you can help these remarkable creatures.

GelkiesMy name in lights.

Maker Faire Day 1

Goodness me, yesterday was amazing. I met tons of interesting people here at the Maker Faire, and I’m sure today will be no different! Thanks to everyone who dropped by and said hello and played with the Jam Jars and the Wii LoopMachine. My favorite moment so far?
Boyfriend: “beep beep boooop” (playing with jars)
Girlfriend: “What’s it for?”
Boyfriend: “What do you mean ‘what’s it for’? It’s awesome!!”

I’ll be posting the schematic and directions for building your own Jam Jars in the days following the Maker Faire, I’m afraid I don’t have time to do it right away! So check back soon for all of that. In the mean time, if the first people to come down to booth number 121 (next to the Tesla coils) today and say “Jam Jars For Life!” get a free Amazing Rolo t-shirt!

Okay! They just made the announcement that the doors are opening for day two in less than five minutes. Let’s power up those Jam Jars!

Introducing the Chicken Box!

Here’s a little demo video of me playing around with a synth I finished building this weekend. It has just three knobs (whose function I don’t really understand) and it sounds crazy cool!

Chicken Box synth
Chicken Box synth
This project, like the Jam Jar, was inspired by a tutorial on All of this synth building will eventually culminate in an interactive installation called “Don’t Talk Back”. More on that later…

Introducing the Jam Jar!

The Jam Jar

I’m working on a project right now that involves building digital synthesizers that react to light. As a first step I made a small synth that I was able to fit inside a jam jar. I creatively named it the Jam Jar, and it totally rocks. Here’s a video that explains what it is and shows me jamming out with Ableton Live!

For more pictures check out my Flickr set.
[edit]> I neglected to mention that I built this synth with enormous help from a tutorial on hack-a-day!