This is a project that primarily has a focus on the ‘process’ of coming towards an idea. We approached this project with the concept of how multiple processes can simplify an idea. We each explored the idea of simplification separately. In the end to come together with the concept of how humans communicate in the simplest way that we can all understand, leading us towards the idea of communication through emotion. We created a representation of this idea by creating a structure that has the characteristics of a brain. This brain uses LED lights and ambient electrical sound effects to create various moods within the space. In the space, the audience can tug on pieces of rope hanging down from the roof, causing a chain reaction to occur.
Revealing the rhythm
I began my exploration for creating the sound effects in our geodesic dome by testing various methods of simplifying sound. One particular method was to take a sample, which has a clean sound. Then I would take the sample into Reason (audio editing software) and distort, reverse, stretch and layer the sound beyond recognition, thus transforming the sound into something chaotic. I repeated this process numerous times, creating an extensive sound bank of the same modified sample. I then took all these samples into Sapling. This software can allow you to really butcher the sounds by modifying the sound waves with various filters. The next process was for me to play four of these sounds at once, and try and find a rhythm or melody in the chaos in a sense like a live performance (Collins, 2003). I recorded this process with Sapling. Stripping away at the sound, like taking a chisel to stone and sculpting the sound to reveal a beauty hidden within the sound. By using the sounds that I created for the simplify exercise helped to re-enforce the concept of how communication in our brains works
In order for us to show the concept of an artificial brain that communicates through emotion, we built a brain-like structure in the open studio space. This structure is in the shape of a geodesic dome made from bamboo. It is big enough for people to enter and move around inside the dome. The dome has a mesh connected to the inside of the dome with cotton wool attached to it. MDF washers that sit between the MDF and the bamboo, thus allowing the bamboo to bend around to the next join without pressing against the MDF board. Another issue we encountered was that the lengths of the bamboo were ever so slightly different. This caused problems because in the join area the bamboo would push against another piece of bamboo, disallowing the MDF join to be rotated in the correct position. We have had to grind down the bamboo, so there is wiggle room inside the join.
Once we had completed the structural setup of the geodesic dome. We could finally see the full scale of the dome comparative to the space of the room. Reaching this major milestone had helped to give us a clearer insight into how we were going to add materials and electronics to the dome’s exterior. The last part of the setup was a little tricky as some of our struts were twisted. This hindered our ability to line up the screws with the holes on MDF board. We would have to leverage and twist the bamboo in order to make it fit together. It may have been easier to lash the bamboo together because then we wouldn’t have had to bend the bamboo.
I am now left with a journey that has been hugely explorative. I have never experienced or been a part of a project that has changed its conceptual understanding so dramatically. We began with the exercise of simplification so we didn’t have concern ourselves with how our project was going to look or be interacted with. We had the freedom to explore both individually and then collectively with our ideas, growing our artwork in a way that could not have been foreseen.