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Thirteen modules are connected to a matrix. Each module consists of a microcontroller, a stepper motor and a sphere of steel attached to it with a rubber band. A piezo sensor is placed between motor and sphere. So each element can measure and activate its oscillation through a simple feedback mechanism programmed on each chip.
A analog bar with a magnet on each side controls the action of each of the system elements. Once a sphere is connected to the bar, it starts swinging as long as the bar detaches an rebuilds a new connection to another sphere.
There is no main program outside of the sculpture and no digital connection between the elements. Each module has its own simple program logic and they just start to react to each other because of the physical connections built. No random or chaos must be simulated, because the always rebuilt physical structure of the sculpture becomes its own analogue program for non-linear behaviour. The system produces complex behaviour, although its structure and rules are very simple.
3 groups of instruments divided by pitch: 1st group plays tonic G (across spectrum) - 2nd group Bb - 3rd group D.
Instruments: strings (dbass - cello - violas - violins), brass (french horn) & wind (english horn) with some variation in playing techniques (trem/pizz/trills...).
Rub surface with palm of hand -> Simultaneous trigger & control volume of 24 instrument samples (8 per pitch group).
Samples are randomly picked from a sample pool (130 samples). Also randomly set are: Volume min/max - envelope attack - Panning [+LFO].
Tapping -> will also randomise all above parameter but only 1 pitch group at a time.
Finally, a random harmonic progression can also be activated. Every time randomness is activated (via Rub or Tap), one pitch group will either move up or down the scale 1/2 tone (to a maximum of 1 tone), or stay put.
For example, the reference chord is Gm (G/Bb/D). If the first group (tonic) was to be randomise, that could become Gb/Bb/D or G#/Bb/D.
Obscura created a live visual set for Jonas Olesen live performance at the Churchill #27 concert.
A huge 13 metre high semi transparent canvas was raised in the beautiful church space. Vibeke (Udart) created the visuals that were generated using 3D models animated in the real time visual programming environment Quartz Composer.
The Churchill events are a row of audio visual concerts that takes place in the Brorson Church in Copenhagen 2-3 times a year.
Rough footage from the workshop "Soft Motion and Liquids" -
by Ben Haworth (Bartlett School of Architecture), Ruairi Glynn (Bartlett), Manuel Kretzer (ETH/CAAD), Marcel Finke and Roman Kirschner (Liquid Things), Anita Peretti, Solmaz Farhang, Isidora Krstic, Alin Cirstea, Kostas Politis
More documentation: http://liquidthings.net/?page_id=1109