Plastic Sound II

After Tuesday’s tutorial, I began researching on the way that vinyl records were produced before digital engineering and found out that it was what Salihah discussed in class before; manifesting sound through indentation with a phonograph. It works with the needle being vibrated by sound waves, hence, inscribing onto the surface of the vinyl disc. I am very interested in the prospect of sound waves being tactile and how a curve could differentiate Frank Sinatra from Nat King Cole. I researched more into this and found myself looking at Braille as a form of data encryption through indentations. The language is interesting in its format and how it reads depending on vowel combinations and the way the markings form words.

This led me to this example of how sound is through markings created; the Japanese Melody Roads. Here is an article about it

From this I looked at Morse codes as a method of transmitting text information as a series of on-off tones, lights, or clicks that can be directly understood by a skilled listener or observer without special equipment. With this, I am interested in the way pattern formation is data coding. With the object study that I am doing, I am looking at ways that I can read and amplify off surfaces to reveal the intensity of information that lies within it. What I am still testing on is making markings/indentations on material surfaces and trying to play them with the simplified needle that I’ve made earlier (trying to mimic the Melody Roads).

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These tests are preliminary and so far the acrylic works better than the board, it resonates much better. I am going to test this on wood and also clay just to see the sound quality I can get. I might test different variations on the marking patterns.

I am struggling with the making of an actual “device” that could be more complicated or more sufficiently test inscribing and reading of surface reliefs. I am not sure how I should narrow down and develop these ideas into something more focus. At the moment it is a myriad of things that are accumulating and the tests are not very successful… I was thinking if I should look more into sound making on surfaces, like taking Braille and the Morse codes as examples of how to pattern out sound. Not so sure where this will lead me to.



As for the portfolio progress, I’ve begun formatting pages and the record sleeve cover to get a sense of scale. I just need to put all these work done into the layout and get it formatted correctly.


2 thoughts on “Plastic Sound II

  1. Dont worry Inez – you are on the right track! The Japanese melody roads is a great case study and you could start formatting it into your portfolio as just that – think about how you draw a section through their intervention in the roads and how the addition of the car creates a tuning fork effect onto the road. The braille and morse code stuff is interesting but its just additional ways of communicating existing information rather than embedding and amplifying data. Im not sure where it will lead you – it might be broadening your investigation further when what you want to do is focus it onto one specific quality. The Japanese melody roads example seems a lot more in the direction of where you are going, amplifying the everyday surface of the road to become playable. its interesting how an everyday occurrence of cars driving along roads can suddenly become an audio experience – how could you do the same with a device to inscribe vs. a device to read embedded data – maybe test ways to do each separately and then once you’re happy with the results start to think about how to combine them. Maybe look at the making of records to figure out the inscribing aspect and then the japanese example for the reading of data, think of how we use the city, and how you could elevate the ordinary experience of buildings into something more engaging, revealing the embedded data within through amplification. Keep going with the portfolio and the tests – don’t forget to document all tests into the portfolio, annotating what worked and what didnt and why that is. Also you should intersperse drawing with images, tests, diagrams etc. to give variety to the document. Looking forward to seeing it on Tuesday!

  2. Also look at Projection Mapping as way of augmenting our experience of buildings – that could be a way in? or – both these companies use the facades to activate projections that tell stories or reveal something about the building itself. You could do something similar but in turn embed something onto the facade?
    This is also an interesting article about an artists who plays buildings transforming their interior into a huge musical instrument:

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