Tuning the City

a workshop on Tactile Acoustic Interventionism

Period: 5 days w/ 5 hrs/day (app)

Number of participants: Max. 10

Skills and gear requirements: Everybody with a basic knowledge of consumer tools and consumer electronic equipment is able to participate. No gear required but it is possible to integrate software etc., as well as standalone electronic and acoustic equipment (please contact me beforehand)

Location: Various sites in public space (be prepared for day-long outdoor sessions)

Signup: TBA


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Goal and method

Tuning the City is about bending the acoustic and semiotic quality and meaning of objects public space. We’ll do this by turning objects and structures into sounding units that can be used actively to enhance a ‘undiscovered’ sound environment within public space itself. Participants of this workshop will collectively produce an ad hoc sound-art piece based on interventions in public space.

We’ll be using an experimental method I call the Tactile-Acoustic Interventionist approach: By using acoustics as a physical, tactile and vibrational energy to adapt and distort the significanses of everyday objects and structures in our urban surroundings. The approach can be described as a mix between street art interventionism and a somewhat nerdish sound exploration.

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We will locate different sites of interest in public space and intervene with these locations by testing the acoustic nature and adding acoustic energy in the objects and structures of the given location. Based on our learnings and a collective decision process, we will choose a final location to produce a finishing soundart-piece in public space with a vernissage for a general public audience, Due to the experimental and explorative nature of the workshop, we’ll keep an open-structured session and we’ll indulge to the many ideas derived from . The ending results is therefore relying on our findings and the ideas we develop throughout the workshop.


Behind the scene

Essential to perform this workshop is a specially developed Tactile Acoustic Interventionist System, that relies on principles of both transduction, where audio signals are ‘injected’ into any objects or structures of choice, setting them in a resonating vibration in order to make sounding units, and piezo-electricity, where objects submitted to mechanical stress generate an audio signal.

The Tactile Acoustic Interventionist System consists of a series of audio transducers and contact microphones. An audio transducer can be described as a speaker magnet seperated from it’s cone and cabinet, and specially designed to flexible attachment and optimal transferring of vibrational energy to any given material attached upon.

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This technology is being used in as vast areas as crash-testing bridge-constructions, sonar, guitar pickups and of course home theaters and butt-kickers. A contact microphone consists of two metal pieces divided by a special crystal, that generate electricity when vibrating. It can intercept even the smallest vibrations and convert them into an audio signal. With a contact microphone you can record everything from the wind in a sailboat to a melting icecube. These technologies are combined and optimised for a mobile and flexible unit that can be transported in urban areas by foot.


See documentation from previous workshop on http://obernkarbi.dk/?p=1029

For a printable document of workshop description, click here