I made a giant motion sensitive 300 watt subwoofer corridor

Anything to do with games at all.
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Green Gecko
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PostI made a giant motion sensitive 300 watt subwoofer corridor
by Green Gecko » Sat Feb 16, 2013 4:14 am

I'm a sonic installation artist. Maybe.

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Interactive sound installation.

4x 75W 12" subwoofers and amplifiers, sonar sensor array, microcontroller, MIDI processing, software synthesis, MDF and pine corridor construction, gloss oil, CCTV camera, monitor.

Movement along a 2D axis though the false corridor within a corridor is detected by a sonar sensor array, interpreted by a micro-controller and converted to subsonic audio synthesis in real-time.


Over 4 years I somehow got from painting to this. Something to do with fine art + music + video games.

Unfortunately I haven't made much but random doodles and Lego for the past 7 months. I think I might make some kind of game / hipster Website crap..

PS that isn't me. Unfortunately for several weeks constructing this right up until the private view I looked like a wild animal.

I have made people do other things:

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I guess I'll just leave this here.
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Alvin Flummux
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PostRe: I made a giant motion sensitive 300 watt subwoofer corri
by Alvin Flummux » Sat Feb 16, 2013 4:57 am

Have you tried throwing a hot dog down it yet?
Jupiter is in your sun sign this week, making it pretty crowded in there, what with Jupiter being the largest of the planets and all.
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Green Gecko
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PostRe: I made a giant motion sensitive 300 watt subwoofer corri
by Green Gecko » Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:27 am

No. :lol: But small children and blind people have been "thrown" through it.

Other people have crawled, limbo'd, spun, run, jumped and shimmied through it.. Eventually people learnt to MGS style their way through it because they were sick of destroying their ears.

It wasn't technically legal to build this.
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Gemini73
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PostRe: I made a giant motion sensitive 300 watt subwoofer corri
by Gemini73 » Sat Feb 16, 2013 9:17 am

Barking, but brilliant. :lol:
Fizheuer Zieheuer
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PostRe: I made a giant motion sensitive 300 watt subwoofer corri
by Fizheuer Zieheuer » Sat Feb 16, 2013 10:31 am

where is this? i'd like to come check it out
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Bacon
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PostRe: I made a giant motion sensitive 300 watt subwoofer corri
by Bacon » Sat Feb 16, 2013 7:28 pm

cool concept man
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Harry Bizzle
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PostRe: I made a giant motion sensitive 300 watt subwoofer corri
by Harry Bizzle » Sun Feb 17, 2013 9:10 pm

In your video it just kind of goes "FWOOOOAOOAAAH" as someone walks down it.


I don't want to seem cocky, but I feel as though I could make something that goes "FWOAAAAAH" as someone walks down it.
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PostRe: I made a giant motion sensitive 300 watt subwoofer corri
by Fizheuer Zieheuer » Sun Feb 17, 2013 10:04 pm

but you didn't
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Green Gecko
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PostRe: I made a giant motion sensitive 300 watt subwoofer corri
by Green Gecko » Sun Feb 17, 2013 10:14 pm

You know I was going to respond like this, but..

That's why I don't show the video yet (you have found it). That was I think my 2nd video of someone walking through it (out of possibly hundreds, I don't even know - read on), quickly filmed while I was still working on it and submitted for assessment at uni as part of WIP documentation. I didn't actually finish the work until after the assessment when the exhibition opened. That showreel (as well as uploading it) was part of my coursework and isn't representative of the work, which was assessed in person. I haven't properly edited a document of the installation yet. I also experimented massively with setting up the sound in varying sensitivities and musical timbres, volumes etc. In the end it came down to a comprimise of what was going to be more effective; a sudden, loud sound or (my preference) a long, slowly crescendo-ing one. Unfortunately I kept being told to turn the thing down - if I didn't, someone else would have done or switched it off for me. Potentially killing my amplifiers. But strawberry float them (of course), I turned it up whenever I was able to check in on the work. :shifty:

I have massively oversimplified the description of what this thing is, because the idea is very very simple, but it's more dynamic than is worth explaining. The work isn't about an explanation of what it is supposed to be or be about, it's a tool/apparatus for discovering this in the audience. Think about it more like a scientific or sociological experiment and has more in common with interaction design, psychoacoustical theory etc than fine art (although it is an artwork). A lot of it had to do with public intervention and how people don't normally expect to walk through a main corridor in an institution one day - right next door to office and classrooms - including visitors to the degree show, and be encroached upon forcefully by a disturbance such as this, that they are forced to walk through in order to reach their destination (ironically, this is also a fire escape route). It is only after a long time reflecting back on the work, what was and wasn't successful, other people's input etc, that I start to understand what the work is. If I knew everything about what the work was or was going to be - the effect it would have - I wouldn't have bothered making it. I would have just written down "Work no. 1214214" and gone to bed. That isn't why people make art.

You might think you could make something similar to this - it's not difficult in theory - but actually realising it, mainly the construction and the planning that goes into building a structure into a specific space, is more complex. It takes one thing to have an idea, and another to actually make it, and make it work. Alone. There were several not normally combined technologies involved, some programming, minor electronics and audio theory. Not off-the-shelf products. I have a lot to thank for Arduino and MaxMSP for this, as I'm not an electrician and barely a programmer. I'm a guitarist.

The tiny mic on my compact camera from several meters back is unable to capture the around 10-40Hz vibrations the corridor makes, actually you can only really feel them. The speakers are overdriven so what you hear in the video is pretty much just the high frequency speaker distortion (horrible sound, deliberate) and almost none of the harmonic bass, which is more like a helicopter or a lorry low flying or driving up besides your house. Those mics are tuned to picking up speech, not massive sub-bass.

I've recorded both the source midi notes generated, close-mic'd the speakers, and recorded ambiance while filming walking through it in first person, and even that still doesn't really work. I will need to edit it all together - I just recently cleared up some hard disk space so I have room for the ridiculous amount of scratch render files Final Cut makes while working with HD. Unfortunately I don't think I'm ever going to be able to reproduce such an experiential work in video, as no amount of video can make you physically feel vibrations, and the sense of pressure on your ears (like a festival concert does).

I have footage of streams of people walking through it (drunk people, children, blind people, old people probably with heart conditions :shifty: etc), and that's where it gets interesting.

Unfortunately for health and safety reasons I was only able to push to about 110dB which isn't that loud, but because the corridor is intentionally narrow (not as narrow as I wanted again due to fire safety), this increases the perceived volume by creating all sorts of reverberations in the material (MDF), surrounding walls, floor - you could actually hear the installation running from about 50 feet away, so it could be heard as it was approached i.e. "what the strawberry float is that sound?". The reverberation was also enhanced by a high gloss oil, although my tutors had no idea the strawberry float to do with any of this, which was disappointing. You could see your reflection vaguely in the surface, which was supposed to be another level of self-awareness, and an alien or lab-like aesthetic.

It isn't just one sample being triggered by passing through as that video implies. The corridor was cable of sensing movement along a 12 metre axis (all the way down the actual corridor, not just the false part housing the speakers) using highly accurate sonar (5x usually used in robotics). Processing this to MIDI the 5x sensors could individually control an axis/parameter that could be mapped individually or collectively to one or more combined realtime synthesised or sampled instruments. In the video this is reduced down to just about 2 feet for that test. Unfortunately I did have problems with interference that are too lengthy to get into here but I had a compromise in the end of about 6 feet of sensitivity.

The closer you approached the corridor, the louder the noise, or I could modulate any musical parameter, i.e. pitch, timbre, oscillation, wave-type, whatever or I could trigger and audio sample like music or sound effects.

The speakers are individually driven and so quadrophonic surround sound. This is completely different to playing 1 sound through 1 or 2 speakers representing a 2D pane, like a hi-fi does to reproduce the effect of watching a band on a stage. I took advantage of this to create an increasingly violent gradient of sound relative to the audience's movement along an axis. The sound is most intense in the center of the corridor, when "trapped" between all four subs sounding at their loudest. This would either cause someone to stay inside the corridor, trapped by curisoity (and often dance or play with the sensors, becoming a performer), or co-erce them out of it, if their personal reaction was to be alarmed or afraid. On the majority, most people wanted to get the strawberry float out of there, obviously more young and hippy kinda people wanted to dance around inside it and go all dubstep m8. I was interested in both.

So bearing all that in mind, it was a fairly powerful platform for playing sound/music in proportion to (technically), 2D movement within 3D space (or a 3D sound stage) and observing psychological/behavioral reactions to containing people within this sonic/architectural space.

The technological set-up wasn't the point at all (although it was interesting to use sonar to measure movement in space and then translate this into other sound - so the the input and output of the work is entirely acoustic in nature). All my work was interested in eliciting an emotional or physical engagement with the physical force of sound (not recordings of sound, or arrangements of sound, which is different). I turned the audience from a passive observer into a performer by framing their reaction to an apparatus and turning them into (part of) the performance. This way anybody could (in some work) appreciate the musicality of materials or (in others) focus on the experience of sound foisted onto them, and reflect upon why they react in a certain way. It is in some ways anti-art and certainly anti-authorial, as most artwork is still concerned with embedded meanings and the total authority of what the artist means to communicate, instead of motioning the audience into creating a performance. This was all filmed of CCTV, which most people ignore, so it was not trivialised by the audience knowing they were performing to someone (which they would if you filmed them with a video camera or took photos of them). You can't just tell someone to interact with an object the way you want them to; the whole point of interaction design is studying what is intuitive for them to do. This formed a great deal of the research component of my degree.

The bizarre range of offbeat reactions (which were all filmed on the CCTV - the other half of the document I haven't made yet since it requires sifting through hundreds of hours of video) from people reeling back, running, shimmying, crawling, attacking the speakers (yes some visibly crazy/blind person destroyed the speakers), dancing and - just as noteworthy - walking straight through (showing how people tune out sound once they have learnt to expect it - actually supporting that sound is reactionary) proved those intentions to be successful.

You may not have read all of that but obviously the final work isn't indicative of everything that went into conceiving it. I've yet to see anyone else realise something like this in this context, and I have tried.

Anny; thanks, that's really cool. I'm afraid I built this into my university and had to destroy it; it was on show last June I just haven't publicised it at all. Unfortunately I wasn't able to hire a lorry to transport this to my shows in London at the time, and as it turns out, I created it pretty much permanently and so by taking it down most of the structure was destroyed. I have all the tech for it though, so if I managed to get some kind of award/stipend, I could install it again somewhere else. The wood wasn't all that expensive, hard materials were about £300. Total value was about 2k though; I used a lot of gear I already own or acquired for this. I would have strawberry floating loved to put this in London (I went to Vyner Street Gallery and the Gallery on Redchurch Street, but used other work). I think it might have got a lot more attention.

Someone jumping up and down in the corridor:

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CCTV

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(This was positioned primarily for the exhibition so that people would identify what my work actually was, and nobody noticed they were on film until after they had moved through the corridor. As I mentioned before, that was really important.

Anyways, it was a really cool project. Some nice people told me it was the best piece of the degree show (only a shame it was hidden away by deliberately blending into the environment) and I got 70% which is a first.

At some point soon, I will remember I made any of this stuff and look for a residency/studio/exhibition opportunity, but as people may be aware, artists are a bit strawberry floated for funding at the moment.

tl;dr don't give a gooseberry fool, this is the first time I've written about this work publicly so thank you for getting me to actually do that or I probably never would have.
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PostRe: I made a giant motion sensitive 300 watt subwoofer corri
by Skarjo » Tue Feb 26, 2013 1:34 pm

Haha, Green Gecko is good at something and took a risk and put some effort in.

LOSER.
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PostRe: I made a giant motion sensitive 300 watt subwoofer corri
by Qikz » Tue Feb 26, 2013 2:54 pm

Skarjo wrote:Haha, Green Gecko is good at something and took a risk and put some effort in.

LOSER.


:lol: :lol:
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PostRe: I made a giant motion sensitive 300 watt subwoofer corri
by Harry Bizzle » Tue Feb 26, 2013 3:10 pm

Skarjo wrote:Haha, Green Gecko is good at something and took a risk and put some effort in.

LOSER.


Is that supposed to be aimed at me? I honestly can't tell.

What I meant was, I've read (or at least started to read) his posts about the difficulty he sometimes has getting his "installations" to work, and if all you saw was that video of that corridor, none of that really comes through. It just looks like a corridor that goes "FWOOAAAR" when you walk through it.

Now maybe it's a crap video, or maybe I just don't have any idea on how these things are marked or what the goals of them are, but if your audience just looks at something you spent hours figuring out how to do and think "oh yeah, it's a corridor that just goes "PHWOAAAR" as you walk through it." you may want to take that into consideration.



Or not. What do I know? I'm just an internet meanie trying to bring him down.
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Green Gecko
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PostRe: I made a giant motion sensitive 300 watt subwoofer corri
by Green Gecko » Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:29 pm

You're correct. This is why I don't show that video to anyone and didn't link to it. It's unremarkable and unrepresentative and I know exactly why.

It's marked WIP and the video was edited and uploaded as part of an assessment. I haven't yet uploaded a full video covering any of these installations.

The trouble is, doing that would be both fallacious, as it's impossible to illustrate the work abstractly using video, and besides the point, as the work isn't about video or the image of the work at all. It's all about sound and physical force.

If I do make a video, I would use it to show the work to people like gallery directors, research MA interview etc. I might put one on some geek tech blog like Make, or some Arduino/Max subcommunuties, because to them the quite experimental (possibly new) use of the tech is interesting, regardless of what it "means". To that end, I think the work has some merit anyway, even if it failed as an artwork (which it didn't, as I achieved the observable behavioral reactions I wanted). I also learnt a great deal, which is what uni, at the very least, is for.

If someone else has done this, I'd love to see it. Besides, art has not been about originality for about half a century, and arguably never has been.

The difficulty in making the work is both the work and the object of it. The subject is open to interpretation. Without any difficulty making the work it would fail as well as be a pointless exercise.

You're also not really my audience. I don't have one. The audience makes the work. This work has gone through so many meaningless abstractions that ultimately your response is only useful to me pertaining to my marketing materials, that I haven't thought so much about. Thank you for that.

Unfortunately I cannot invite you to experience the work because it no longer exists. This really saddens me and many other people.
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~Earl Grey~
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PostRe: I made a giant motion sensitive 300 watt subwoofer corri
by ~Earl Grey~ » Mon Mar 04, 2013 4:53 pm

Artistic expression isn't necessarily equated to construction work you know...
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Green Gecko
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PostRe: I made a giant motion sensitive 300 watt subwoofer corri
by Green Gecko » Tue Mar 05, 2013 9:35 am

Yes. This is clearly more involved and involving than a structure alone.

What's your point?
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Mr Yoshi
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PostRe: I made a giant motion sensitive 300 watt subwoofer corri
by Mr Yoshi » Tue Mar 05, 2013 3:33 pm

This is absolutely fantastic. Am blown away that someone would think of and make it. Would love to have walked through.

Bravo.
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PostRe: I made a giant motion sensitive 300 watt subwoofer corri
by darksideby182 » Tue Mar 05, 2013 5:47 pm

Do you go to uni in farnham?
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Green Gecko
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PostRe: I made a giant motion sensitive 300 watt subwoofer corri
by Green Gecko » Tue Mar 05, 2013 7:20 pm

Mr Yoshi wrote:This is absolutely fantastic. Am blown away that someone would think of and make it. Would love to have walked through.

Bravo.

Thank you. I had endless amusement watching people emote with this thing, or be confounded by it. I'll make that video for you people.

As I said before, I debated endlessly whether this kind of work was art or not (or music, or sound, or an instrument, an installation or construct or apparatus). It's a complete waste of time. Even if I am (eventually) qualified to say whether it is or isn't, that doesn't make it a useful demarcation.

Grass is not always green.

The sky is only blue at day.

A program is not always a game.

A game is not always a program.

And yeah I went to uni in Farnham.. Possibly the most inappropriate town to have a university in, yet alone an old art school. It does have good pubs though. I'll probably wind up lecturing there but it may be in something completely different that doesn't exist yet.

UCA Farnham taught me the correct way to fail.
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PostRe: I made a giant motion sensitive 300 watt subwoofer corri
by darksideby182 » Tue Mar 05, 2013 7:59 pm

I used to work at uca farnham or as it was called then surrey institute of art and design.

But yes there is some good pubs.
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