VOICES FROM THE VOID
Voices from the Void is a project I collaborated on with artist Dan O’Tool as electronics engineer, software engineer and sound designer.
Voices from the Void is an installation of custom made brass drums that sing when interacted with. The set of drums are tuned to a chord, creating an evolving soundscape that resonates in harmony.
The exhibition features nine drums, displayed as wall hanging objects, that when approached, begin to vibrate and produce a sine wave. The drum skins, painted black, act as a void drawing focus to the sound which is being projected; singing to the audience and harmonising with the other drums, the room becomes an instrument, and the audience the players.
The artist Daniel O’Toole explains, “I am interested in observing how the group may behave in these settings; do people coordinate movements to express particular musical ideas? Will the effect of silence and timing become relevant in how people play this piece? Is there a meditative and quiet atmosphere to the installation, or does it bring out people’s inner child, and become joyous and noisy?”
“With no one present, the drums sit silent, so this work only sings when interacted with…the audience behaviour and exploring different social parameters is just as critical to the artwork as the drums themselves.”
My involvment in this project was to develop and build the electronics hardware, software and sound design.
The system is centered around a Raspberry Pi taking in data from a laser time of flight sensor. The input data is filtered and scaled using Python code before making its way to Pure Data for further scalling and sound manipulation. Audio in the form of sine waves and noise runs from Pure Data to a miniature sound card, a highly efficient amplifier and out to a surface exciter that excites the drum skin.
The drums were built by Richie and Seismo (Red Steel)
Built from curved sheet brass with a roto-tom style internal steel frame and tuning sytem to keep the outside seamless and minimal.
All photos by Dan O’Toole
Dan O’Toole (Artist)
Metal fabrication (Red Steel)
Polishing – James Groom