In responding to the call from The Met Office and Kaleider, I wrote a proposal that framed and developed many of the ideas I had been working on years before hand. With the central thinking being the piece being about perceptive boundaries and how we think about things. That is to say, how what we think about determines how we think and (vice versa) how our thinking processes determine what we think about. I like the idea that the way that we collect information (through our respective senses and the inherent processes involved) creates patterns of meaning and understanding that are common to all of us, but also different in so many ways (the individual, the tribe, the society).
The Met Office is a very interesting place. It is a kind of information and data collection/generation hub and is in a unique position to explore new ways of interacting with and communicating information which will either directly affect our behaviour (in an everyday sense) or influence patterns of behaviour and understanding on a much wider scale.
I wanted to create an object or a series of objects which translate or alter the way information or data is normally perceived in order to help the viewer think again about what the information is and how we understand it. I wanted to explore sound using ceramic bell forms responding to data from one or more of the prototypes initiated by the EUPORIAS project or through human interactions.
The idea was to create a playful interactive musical devices that will translate information in an unusual, or possibly eccentric manner that might be amusing or a little disturbing.
Some potential initial ideas:
A sound proof box/cabin simply furnished with a lectern and a presentation screen. A viewing panel at the front. The audience can see the performer delivering a speech/ presentation/ oration/ conversation etc. but cannot hear what is being said. The exterior frame is lined with ceramic bell forms, the hammers of which are operated by servo type devices controlled by a system powered by a motion sensor device (leap motion /arduino/lilypad). These would be based on the lectern or in the clothing or gloves of the performer. The motions / gesticulations of the speaker are translated into bell chimes and strikes on the bells outside the chamber. As such we are denying the viewer the traditional mode of understanding the information communicated and using the non verbal signals (gesticulations) and translating these into sounds. I like the idea of exploring the physicality of a space and how we use it to create music.
A series of ceramic bell forms which are operated by data feeds from the EUPORIAS prototypes. I would like it if the sculpture could be operated by different data sets and the factors which operate the hammers could be manipulated by a software filter that would need to be created. Initially I envisaged that the sculpture would be table or wall mounted, but I like the idea that it could also move, the bells responding to the data in that sense as well as by making noise. They could be fixed into some sort of grid or be allowed to be autonomous vehicular objects. The interactive element would be how the user could manipulate the data and explore the outcomes as a result in the behaviour of the instrument. This could even be done remotely, with some sort of feedback system to create unexpected noise in it’s environment.
During the initial stages of the development of the piece there was importantly quite a bit of discussion with the production team at Kaleider and the Met Office about what would be feasable in the building. The Met Office is a secure building and so security issues are an important concern and have an important role to play in the siting and construction of the sculpture. Also there are important constraints as to what can be built so as not to interfere too much with the daily activities that occur there. In addition, a sound sculpture is a difficult object to have in a conference.
In the initial drawings, I was thinking about 2 structures. One, a soundproof box in which the speaker would communicate and the second for the bells. This idea developed quite quickly into one structure mainly due to budget and accessibility for the speakers.