Shawn Decker: Green




 
  • ©, Shawn Decker, Green

Artist(s):


Title:


Green

Exhibition:


SIGGRAPH 2006: Intersections

Medium:


Audio installation

Size:


10' x 10' x 12'

Category:


Installation

Artist Statement:


In Green, I continue my exploration of the processes found in nature and in other large and complex systems, and the potential of computer programs to model or simulate such systems within time-based artworks. In my most recent interactive installations and performances, patterns of behavior are fixed and defined only by the algorithmic process specified in the computer program embedded within the micro-controller that is part of each work. These algorithmic processes are designed to simulate the operation of physical and natural systems. In particular, Green isolates the elements of rhythm and spatial orientation, using many small speakers as sound sources, with only the most basic of sounds (small clicks and pulses) to create spatial and rhythmic studies that are based on the natural soundscape found in meadows in midwestern North America.

Technical Information:


Like much of my recent sound-based installation work, Green makes use of mechanical and other “direct” sound-production techniques that may be controlled by a computer program. In the past, these techniques have included the use of small motors to strike metal objects, piano wires, etc. and are often kinetic in nature. In Green, I use small loudspeakers, not in the normal sense to reproduce sound waves, but rather as small kinetic machines, to which I send pulses (on/off voltages only) that “twitch” and “tap” the loudspeakers, treating them like simple mechanical noise makers.

All of Green’s sounds are driven by algorithms coded into home-made and custom-programmed microcontrollers (single-chip computers). Each loudspeaker is powered by a microcontroller, and can make only simple and quiet sounds (by literally turning the speaker on and off only, so small clicks, buzzes, etc. are all that is possible). The piece gains volume and complexity through the multiplicity of speakers (32) and through their synchronization (provided by the algorithms within the microcontrollers).