Music 250A Project

"Sound Kitchen"

Hiroko Shiraiwa, Vivian Woo and Rodrigo Segnini

It started in fall, 2002 and we presented this project at NIME 03.

We created music using voltage changes derived from several chemical batteries made of liquid such as orange juice and red wine, and metal strips, plugged into computer for real-time synthesis, mixing them with the funny fuzz sounds from acid and soda.

It turned out to be one of my favorite projects, because of the simple but strong and attractive idea. Beyond aesthetics, many people found the idea itself very fun, unique and inspiring.

It took me a while to figure out what I really challenged in this project. I had to study aesthetics and music history to clarify my inner thoughts. The fundamental of this project is the criticism toward many electronic instruments. They are often clearly linear, stable and under perfect control using switches and sensors.

However, the aspect what traditional musical instrumental performance makes really interesting, is the subtle uncontrollability and nonlinearity of acoustical instruments. Therefore I am attracted to more ambiguous controls, that an interface (or I'd say an "instrument") itself has its own life, personality and unexpected behavior and the performers have to learn how to drive it.

I also question the whole "machinery" "industrial" and "metallic" electronic music tradition, which seems very masculine and over-controlled to me. The infinite dimensionality of this "unexpected behaving, still under certain degree of control" music system is still attractive.

(Additional notes written on May 24, 2005)

Quicktime Movie of the performance.

Project report ( .ps and .pdf )

Our conference paper
.. accepted toNIME 03.  :-)