Towards the Found Sound Machine

In continuation of the developing sound experiments last december, I came to the idea to try to build a so-called ‘Found Sound Machine‘. Here, several experiments and the idea of the instrument maker would flow together. The concept I had in mind, would furthermore produce a new (media) behaviour and could follow from several simple steps:

  • Found Sound from one can at the time
  • Video and sound recording of about 1 minute of each can
  • Make several AV-edits to hear what different sound mixes could evolve from this
  • As a visual sideline, I try to make the imagery in such a way that an attractive aesthetic may result

In pursuing this concept, I needed to make some physical alterations compared to my original multiple-can-turning installation. First, I needed to be able to use one can only, from which the content could easily be changed. As the plastic foil lit was glued to the can, it was before hard to remove. I found a different and thicker plastic. Qualities like transparency and induced sound were important as well as durability. With small screws it became an easy interchangeable lit in a new set-up with just one can on the end of the turning rod.

To see whether the foreseen steps would be working, I did a short test. Found metal rings and some springs were respectively turned in the can, recorded and comfortably switched. Then I made a short video of experiment 250119 to be experienced underneath.

After making the video of experiment 250119, I realised that it was more a playful exercise in ‘what can come forward from the visual part‘ than anything else. Maybe, that is because I am unsure whether the visual part of the Found Sound Machine, that is yet in my head, has any substance.

Now I have to admit that I went on an even further deviation of the Found Sound Machine concept, as I introduced light into the cans, making way for a new experiment 260119. Reading though my notes from weeks ago, the idea of led lights that shine and roll and peal at the same time in and from the cans seemed attractive from the beginning. Thus it was appropriated in a rudimentary form.

Recognising this experiment is even more a visual test, I then thought it could be easily also a sound experiment of another kind… Thinking about the sound production an object will make in the tin can, I noticed that it might be lacking a certain base pattern. In trying to add a certain rhythm, not coming from a computer generated drum machine or something like that, I took a personal approach by using my own voice. Perhaps this came also forth from listing to a piece of John Cage called ‘Living Room’, in which the idea is that the piece is performed in a living room with only the objects available in that same room. First, I intended to just do some vocal beat sounds, which I actually have never done or think I am capable of. But just by doing, soon words were flowing in between… words which come from my thinking of the latest reading I am in the middle of: Making Sense by Simon Penny (see also my reading list). Well, so far my actual inspirations. Please taste here experiment 260119.

In reflection, after playing both video’s for some days now, I am not sure what to say about them. I like this idea of multiple domains that may become apparent again. The notion of motion, the notion of moving light, the notion of the continuous changing relationship between the former, us and the (virtual) objects.

Certainly, they are good experiments, as well as they are not (yet) working for me personally and maybe I should leave it here open-ended as that.

Next I will have to pursue the idea of the Found Sound Machine, focusing on sound production first and foremost.