The Metaphase Sound Machine is a kind of homage to the ideas of the American physicist Nick Herbert who in the 1970s has created both Metaphase Typewriter and Quantum Metaphone (a speech synthesizer). These were some of the first attempts to put the phenomenon of quantum entanglement in practice and one of the first steps towards the creation of a quantum computer. The experimental devices, however, had not confirmed theoretical research, and Herbert’s obsession with metaphysics resulted in the publication of several of his works on the metaphysical in quantum physics, that have led to a serious loss of interest to the ideas of quantum communication. One day, in a course of his experiments, Herbert has hacked into an university computer trying to establish a contact with the spirit of illusionist Harry Houdini at the day of the centenary of his birth.
In his device Herbert in order to achieve a quantum entangled state used as a source radioactive thallium, which was controlled by the Geiger radiation counter. The time interval between pulses was chosen as conversion code. Several psychics had participated in the experiments. They tried to influence the endless stream of random anagrams arising from a typewriter or cause "the ghost voice" to be heard out of metaphone. Scientists also have conducted sessions to bring about the "spirit" of a colleague who had recently died, and who knew about this typewriter. In 1985 Herbert wrote a book about metaphysical in physics. In general, his invention and articles quite severely compromised the ideas of quantum communication in the eyes of potential researchers and by the end of the XX century no any substantial progress in this direction was observed.
The Metaphase Sound Machine is an object with 6 rotating disks. Each of the discs is equipped with acoustic sound source (a speaker) and a microphone. Each of the microphones is connected via computer and the rotary axis to the speakers on the disks. Also in the center of installation a Geiger-Mueller counter is set, that detects ionizing radiation in the surrounding area. The intervals between these particles influence rotation velocity of each of the disks. Essentially the object is an audio- and kinetic installation in which a sound is synthesized based on feedbacks, produced by microphones and speakers on rotating discs. Feedback whistles are used as triggers for more complex sound synthesis. Additional harmonic signal processing, as well as the volatility of the dynamic system, lead to the endless variations of sound. The form of the object refers to the generally accepted symbolic notation of quantum entanglement as a biphoton - crossing discs of the orbits.
video from the DYNASTY exhibition at Palais de Tokyo in Paris summer 2010
Truce: Strategies for Post-Apocalyptic Computation by Robin Meier and Ali Momeni
In their seminal paper “Flying in Tune: Sexual recognition in mosquitoes,” University of Greenwich researchers Gabriella Gibson and and Ian Russell note an inspiring phenomenon: To find a partner of the right species type, male and female mosquitoes rely on their ability to “sing” in tune.
Mosquitoes vary the buzzing sounds they produce by changing the frequency of their wing beats in flight. This phenomenon synchronizes the male and female wing beats to within a millisecond or less, allowing a harmonized buzz and mid-flight copulation. Truce harnesses the mosquitoesʼ natural synchronization behavior to engage them in song — creating reciprocal musical interactions between insect and computer.
The computer produces a stimulus sound derived from the North Indian classical vocal tradition of Dhrupad.
Our three mosquitoes independently tune their buzz to the sound. Triggered by the buzz, the computer produces three separate electronic voices — one for each mosquito — at the same pitch. These three electronic voices move in and out of harmony with one another depending on the insectsʼ ability to remain in sync with the stimulus sound.
Each mosquito is equipped with:
A loudspeaker that delivers the Dhrupad stimulus sound
A microphone to pick up the mosquitoesʼ buzz
A camera for giving us a closer look at the insects on-screen
A wire that contracts to let the mosquito rest every few minutes
A light bulb that brightens/dims as flight amplitude changes
Truce relies on the assumption that every living thing uses its environment as a tool to perform cognitive tasks. As such, our environment becomes a direct extension of the cognitive process. It effectively opens up the physical shell of our minds to include a much wider field of interaction.
With this externalist philosophy in mind, we envision Truce as a computing environment in which an artificial stimulus is, in turn, interpreted by the natural activity of living creatures. In this unique environment, the interaction between mosquito and machine brings forth musical motives and harmonies.
When individuals are represented purely as statistical data, they are stripped of their humanity and our connection to them is severed. Through the act of play and the force of imagination, this project aims to reconnect that which has been lost.