This audio feedback system is a prototype designed to digitally manage or 'shape' resultant audio feedback tones as they resonate through various media. In this case, pressure waves are produced in the air by a loudspeaker, guided through a configuration of pipes, and sensed by a microphone on the other end. By completing the partially open waveguide loop, energy is allowed to flow seamlessly between the external sound environment and the digital environment.

The intention is to strategically establish musical parameters inside the instrument that passersby can intuitively perceive in public spaces. As a stand-alone sound sculpture, the instrument invites observers to interact sonically. The cue for the observer(s) is an intermittent transformation of local environmental sounds in real-time. Such cues are intended to encourage spontaneous collaboration amongst participants who are within close proximity to the instrument. Once individuals have engaged with the instrument, sound information transfer is expected to increase and in turn generate a substantive musical interaction over the course of minutes. In this first iteration of the device, a performer is required to guide the sound shaping process, but future iterations will initialize sound cues automatically.

Manufactured waste materials or commonly found materials are integral to the creation of the prototype, along with open source software such as Pure Data and MobMuPlat. Used and/or discarded electronics (e.g., smartphones, speaker cones, components, microphones, and batteries) will be implemented as this project evolves. By reusing these materials, it is hoped that awareness is raised around issues of corporately imposed product obsolescence and economic inequality in the arts. Creative reuse being one way of many for artists to engage tangibly and metaphorically in the struggle for a more sustainable society.

Designed by Graduate Student Researcher Jason Cress

> Video of César E. Chávez Park Installation (2017)


Additional Project Images