Bitsphere's Weblog

… a bitart weblog


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Rush Hour

In 2015 Bitsphere was working on the project “Rush Hour”. Here is the first description as found on the website:

The installation “Rush Hour” renders sound according to image data gathered from a distant camera in public trespassing knots to an array of loudspeakers in an exhibition space in real time.

Intended for an outdoor installation the receiving unit may be installed in closed spaces too. This piece deals with the displacement of perception transformation of surveillance data and tracking of movement in formerly public spaces.

The detailed project description will be published later on.


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Jsocialcloud – Why it is cool to publish code

cloud2014In September ’14 Bitsphere published a small Javascript work on http://sourceforge.net/projects/jsocialcloud/.  The published code lets coders embed links to various social media accounts as images floating in a div. Please visit http://bitsphere.ch/bitsphere/index.php?id=23&L=0 for an example implementation of the code.

This is the first code piece Bitsphere published and it let to several insight about coding. To share some of them with you will find a short list in the next paragraph:

  1. To publish code forces to format the code in a very proper way.  It forces the programmer to go over the code several times and keep the comments and the styling proper. This fact alone should make publishing source code to a public site a part of tech education
  2. Package management is not that easy ( at least at Sourceforge ). When altering a file after publishing the .zip file the .zip needs to be redone too. This sounds trivial but somehow slows down fast modifications. So if you publish make sure that you plan some time for the publishing itself.
  3. To have code on line is cool. People may convince themselves of the capabilities at Bitsphere and a sample work – though a small one – is always at hand when discussing achievements and former results which tends to stay in a much more abstract level whitout even a link to accomplished work. (This may help in job interviews).
  4. Things never are perfect. Bitsphere always thinks of some changes that will come in a next release though at some point release 1.0 has to be declared as finished. Then it comes to your proper project management that you keep track of the next steps to be done.

 

If you look for a add-on for your homepage check back the code at the link at top and leave a comment about your experience!


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Five ways to map sound to a 2D Graph

20120503 animation 14Recently working on a piece which uses data sets Bitsphere will introduce later this year the question how to map sound to a 2D representation rose again. The most common application of this mapping is the step sequencer where one dimension is applied to the time and the other to a specific sound.

To give an overview over the topic Bitsphere prepared an incomplete list of possible mappings in this post.

The basic question is how to represent a given mathematical two dimensional set to a sound by applying sound control to the values of the x and y axis. A graphical representation of a data st may look like this:

chart_2d_example

There are some obvious and less obvious technologies in the list following:

x -> Time –  y -> Frequency

This might be the most common application as seen on score sheets: One dimension shows the time range counting forward the other indicates the pitch of the melody. This is what a sequencer program like the old tracker programs basically were designed for: Determine at what time which note has to be played.

x-> Time – y -> Instrument (Sound)

The correlation between time and instrument is rather simple. In the two dimensional representation one axis shows the elapsing time the other axis’ values are assigned to an instrument. Obviously to determine which instrument has to be played an integer value is required but a good program may use the values in between to trigger the volume of the two instruments at the limiting integers.

x-> Time – y-> 2. Harmonic

With this mapping the pitch of the tone evolving is not altered but its quality when manipulating the 2. harmonic. This raises various possibilities for example some more harmonics may be bound to one of the 2D axis. Or just the odds. Check back the resources on the net for harmonic additive synthesis.

x-> Time – y->  Filter

This is a common practice in live use where filters are altered over time manipulating the sound. Disk Jockeys do this by hand though this may be implemented in code too.

x-> Time – y-> Volume

Mapping sound to volume may seem a rather boring thing, it is indeed a very powerful tool. In classical music the effect is known as dynamics. Most of you will know the signs pp, p , mf, f, ff and their numerous variations. Its extrems are ‘mute’ – ‘on’ which is the binary of all sounds existence and becomes very dynamic when differently applied to multiple sounds at a time.

Further thoughts

As stated above this list is incomplete. Bitsphere appreciates any comment on this post with other possible mappings. The real power of this mappings lies in the multidimensionality when more than one of them is used in the same piece. This might be the topic of a post to come.

 


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Musical Biosensor by Marco Donnarumma

note_symbolIn the recent days Bitsphere did some hardware assembling due to the great open source work of Marco Donnarumma called x-th sense. An open hardware project which aims to amplify muscle sounds. The local hardware distributor here in Switzerland offered all the pieces need for the assembly except the “protokit” mentioned in the xth-sense documentation and the sensor is build in less than an afternoon by a newbee to hardware assembling for the on-line documentation is really detailed.

Bitsphere replaced the protokit with a “Hammond Manufactoring 1593KBK Handheld Box”, sawed a piece out of an epoxy fibre-glass labor card (the RE523-LF by Roth Elektronik) which fits in the box and screwed it into the box. That is about the pieces the original kit consists of.

To get the software running was the harder part. It was not that easy to get the required version of puredata extended. Finally it turned out there is a repository for the beta builds with the required versions. Then the directory names mentioned in the x-th sense how-to have to be created on the local disk the very same.

For those interested in readings about body sounds you find an article about biomusic in the Journal of Sonic Studies.


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Oneminute Ups and Downs

Downs

As mentioned earlier this year Bitsphere participated again at the Oneminute contest in Aarau, Switzerland. Sad enough the programming had to be done in rather difficult personal circumstances so it is way not the best video and the jurors in Aarau shared this opinion by screening it off the contest. To see it olympic: there is a video in 2013 and it was screened at all:

Ups

Last years video was selected by theoneminutes.org for a screening in various museums in Benelux countries. It was part of a series of videos referencing to “rhytm” which was screened during August in unexpected places in some known houses. For those who have not seen the video yet here you find it again:


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QR code sonification video and sound file

bitsphere_microAs announced in January Bitsphere created another oneminute video. Other than planned earlier this year it is not an augmented reality video but a study of a QR code acting as a sequencer and visuals related to this topic. Lack of evidence in the earlier concept led to this change of concept. Sonification of a QR code was on Bitsphere’s wish list for a long time. As usual the video will be posted on the youtube channel as soon as the oneminute festival in Aarau is over.

In the meanwhile Bitsphere is very proud that the Amsterdam oneminute foundation accepted last year’s video for occasional use in various contexts. So far no screening seems planned but you will be kept up to date when this changes.

Furthermore there is an uploaded example of a QR sonification on soundcloud. The root is the micro QR code in the post header image you find at the top left of this post.  Thoughts on QR codes you may find here on this blog. As usual you are invited to leave a comment in the comment section!


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Bitsphere One Minute Video 2012

Once again Bitsphere wrote an animation video for the Oneminute video festival in Aarau, Switzerland. This years video consists of colors and music which change in an algorithmic pattern:

Bitsphere decided not to let the video run in the competition blocks, so it was screened only once in Aarau. If anyone knows about a one minute video festival anywhere else in the world, please drop a line so Bitsphere can send it there.