‘When carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen atoms bond in a certain way to form sugar, the resulting compound has a sweet taste. The sweetness resides neither in the C, nor in the O, nor in the H; it resides in the pattern that emerges from their interaction. It is an emergent property. Moreover, strictly speaking, is not a property of the chemical bonds. It is a sensory experience that arises when sugar molecules interact with the chemistry of our taste buds, which in turn causes a set of neurons to fire in a certain way. The experience of sweetness emerges from that neural activity”
- Fritjof Capra
Based on the premise of the deliberate alignment of atoms used to control digital synapsis, Amorphous Allotropes bases its process on Carbon; the key component to all life known on Earth, to propose a new musical instrument for sonic interactions.
Through controlled artificial crystallisation on prepared structures adapted to enable connection between the crystals and the physical interface for signal processing, from analog to digital; then applying this data, through a custom built software to control and result into sound and its adherent properties.
Among the allotropes of carbon there are graphite, one of the softest known substances, and diamond, the hardest natural occurring substance. Correspondingly, while experimentation with possible variations of this method, considering the final interaction with the outcome, Amorphous Allotropes of carbon were grown on varied structures, including soft materials such as textile and foam, to laser cut glass or plastic, as well as a standalone crystal element.
The beauty in the art of cultivating crystals is that it is not precise and governable, hence thresholds and boundaries are set, then this process set in motion allowing it to create itself.
Communication to the digital world is done by translating the analog readings from the custom rigged crystals, using a controlled electric circuit into an Arduino board, which then serial prints the live data into MaxMSP. A custom patch parses the data stream and converts the fragile analog crystal readings into note/velocity, ADSR envelope values and MIDI.
While this project is mainly inspired by the raw beauty of nature, Amorphous Allotropes combines universal principles of physics with digital technology, proposing new forms of expression using crystal sensors as new musical instruments focused on sonic interactions.