Sonic Art Audio Project Proposal: Small Trampoline and Contact Microphones, Live Performance

In my proposal I’m going to outline a creative sonic art project that will address concepts of what an instrument is and when it is an instrument. As well as this, I’ll also be exploring the post-modern framework in terms of recontextualisation of the trampoline and also how it is used.

For my audio project, I will be putting four to six contact microphones around the circular ring of a small exercise trampoline. The trampoline itself will be approximately 6 foot in its diameter. I decided upon this size, as I wanted the project to be portable and playable as quickly as possible once it’s set down.

I want to put these four to six AKG contact microphones around the ring of the trampoline as close to the springs as possible to get their compressions and rarefactions. Using these microphones I’ll be able to capture the sound of the trampoline’s structure as it’s being used and hear the way it contracts and relaxes. The position of the microphones around the circle could possibly represent the speaker set up of the room too.

Like a noise producing body, the energy that passes through a stretched out spring vibrates the medium and produces sound waves of a lower pitch, and when contracted produce a higher pitch. Micing these springs allows the trampoline to be observed as an instrument when viewed within the post-modern framework, not dissimilar to Bill Fontana’s Kirribilli Wharf. At the same time I want the shape of the trampoline to represent a sound wave, in that it is of 360° like a sine wave. As well as this, the compression and rarefactions of the springs represent the shape and activity of the sine wave too.

In terms of recontextualisation, I wanted to be able to feed the output of these microphones into MAX/MSP and process these using different shaped envelopes so as to try and make it sound like one may be jumping on a trampoline in different environments. Changing the envelope allows me to, as an example, make it sound like it’s under water. On top of this, I was thinking about maybe using sensors as well to trigger certain samples taken from field recordings in different environments.

I think the difficult aspects of this project are feeding the output of the contact microphones into MAX/MSP and setting up a suitable patch within the software so I can accurately exhibit my work.

In doing this, I’ll probably look at some software called soundflower that acts as a virtual audio device that allows me to use one program as an input (possibly a live session in Logic Pro) and the other as an output (MAX/MSP).

The hard part of the MAX patch will be the fact that it is a live performance, and I need it to be able to process the information that it will be receiving. Finally, using appropriate objects and actions that can work without contradictions and in tandem to produce the desired effects.

Screen Shot 2013-11-03 at 8.55.39 PM

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