Embodiment

I want to explore the connection we have with the earth, in terms of movement. I want to think that, perhaps, when we dance, we are mimicking the earth’s movements.  Right now I’m in the process of making a musical map of Latin America. The buttons on the map play different rhythms based on their placement on the map. My idea is to make the earth move according to the beat it is playing.

 

Design as Strategy and Practice- Fixing a Social Problem.

A social problem that I find troubling is the topic of smart consumption. What I mean is : I know the overwhelming majority of the things we buy come from lenient, off shore labor law situations, borderline slavery, certainly hyper exploitative. Usually, I abstain from buying something because of my reluctancy to participate in this economic model, but sometimes I try to forget about it all together when I really want something, and I try to wash my guilt with my stronger feeling, which is desire. Of course, I am also aware that this desire is consequence of manipulation, but that is a different topic.

I would like to use the clothing industry as an example. Markets like the clothing industry, where there is a disparate difference between how much things cost to make (how much people are getting paid for the clothing they make) and how much these clothes cost. Sometimes they are ridiculously more expensive because of their supposed status, and sometimes they are super cheap, because they literally cost close to nothing to make.

My solution to this problem would be to create a SOCIAL FOOTPRINT label on products. This means that there would be a label on a product that tells you, along with the carbon footprint of the product, who made it and what their wage is. This would create transparency between a company and its customers. The customer would also have a more meaningful relationship with the people that are making what they are buying. Alongside this concept, it would also be interesting to create an option for the customer to be able to “tip” the people who are making what they are buying.

Root causes: The root cause of this problem is the economic model we live in. I know this is a tricky idea. The people that are in charge of this wouldn’t want this to happen. Maybe it’s an idea that can be introduced via policy.

 

Always On, Always Connected Midterm- Troubadour

For my Always On, Always Connected midterm I’m on a working on music interface. My inspiration came from being able to make a tool that I can use wherever I am to hash out new ideas, or even as a performing instrument in the long run.  I am using Nexus, a company that specializes in making interactive musical interfaces, and connected two keyboard interfaces with a 16 beat drum sequencer. I then connected tone.js to the keyboards, with the polysynth sound from the tone.js library. My goal is to connect all three interfaces with a common metronome so that all the interfaces can be played simultaneously.

My wireframes for Troubadour:

 

 

This is my Interface thus far:

The keyboards are functioning with sound from tone.j.s

 

Next steps:

  1. Putting drum sounds on the sequencer.
  2. Hooking  up a metronome to all three interfaces.
  3. Connect a looping function
  4. Connect a saving function

 

 

 

 

 

My garbage.

 

Most of my garbage this week was food container garbage. Even more specific, it was usually pizza or smoothie garbage. Also, plenty of coffee garbage as well. Can’t forget the sugar garbage to sustain long work hours, like chocolate chip cookies and m’n’ms. One observation: It was kind of gross to see how much pizza I ate this week.

I suppose I can start by bringing  home cooked food in containers, but that takes time, and time is what I usually don’t have. Maybe I can just bring a ceramic plate to the pizza place or try to buy things with minimal to no packaging. Pizza is more sustainable, though, as it comes in paper, and smoothies come in plastic. The irony is that the smoothie is better for my body, but not my environment in the long run.

There is also more waste that I used that isn’t pictured. Hygiene products, cigarette packaging, water when I brush my teeth and take a shower, just to name a few.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My relationship to Energy- Design as Strategy and Practice

My most obvious relationship to energy is through my relationship with music.  Music encompasses spiritual energy, electrical energy, and physical energy. The ability to receive music requires the ability to receive the nuances of its energy. It requires the ability to translate energy into emotion. When one receives that emotion, it is then translated back into an output energy that comes from the body. This is the birth of dance. The giving back of energy to the source, thus creating a circular relationship between giving and receiving.

As a musician, I don’t create when I’m happy. It has turned into a pattern in my life. When I’m happy I am preoccupied with being happy. When I feel anxious to create, I subconsciously destroy things in order to feel inspired to once again touch the drawing board. The tragedy of destruction turns into my muse. And it is only through the destruction that I can reflect on the happiness I threw away, and through the art, lament over how valuable my loss is.

 

 

  

 

 

My piece, titled Past, Present, Future reflects the path that I take as an artist through the process of creation. The past is written, the present, a jumble of emotions that eventually leads me to a future blank slate.  I take in energy, through experiences and people. I create conflict, and my conflict resolution is a mapping out of events, of looking both forward and backward. I then approach a new drawing board to recycle my emotions into music. On one side there is a tape full of music. It then unravels into the storm of present tense. I then work my way towards a blank cassette.

 

 

 

 

 

Towers of Power- Final

For our Towers of Power final (Dorothy and Jasmine) we are working on a project called BREAK THE ICE.

BREAK THE ICE is intended to protect undocumented citizens from ICE raids, with the ultimate goal of keeping families together. In the political climate that we are living in right now, ICE raids are increasing in numbers and it’s imperative that we counter the actions in order to protect civil liberties. This project will be a great tool for activists working especially for this cause. We will be able to give them the data from the radio scans, enabling them to disseminate and ICE activity that is about to take place. We have a list of activist groups that will mostly benefit from this, including Cosecha, ICE- Free NY, New Sanctuary Movement, Juntos, and ACLU. We also want to collect data on raid activity for further

 

We will detect ICE raids through signal activity, meta data and speech detection using radio frequency scans. The chain of a events will start with the software that detects the signals, and then it will be demodulated by a Raspberry Pie. The data will then be passed onto a server, which will then trigger Twilio, sending a message to the users of the app. The signal we are demodulating will be P25 signal, which is usually in the 163.00000 frequency level.

This is the chain of events for our app.

 

This is what it looks like when we get the signal on gqrx. The signal is stronger in the morning, which is a great indicator of when the raids usually happen.

 

Our financial plan  consists of selling the Properly equipped Raspberry Pies that pick up the signal, to activists.

Also, we are counting on donations from various activist groups.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Piecing it Together- Midterm

For my Piecing it Together midterm I decided to build a guitar body. My only experience with guitars before this, besides playing them, was designing a semi hollow body guitar, as well as taking various solid body electrics apart with hopes of putting them back together. Most of the time I failed to put them back together properly.

I wanted to finally build a guitar from scratch (save for the neck.) I bought a used neck on ebay, as well as a chunk of basswood for the body of the guitar. My plans were to make an obtuse triangle guitar body, but when I received the body in the mail I quickly realized that the dimensions of the wood wouldn’t afford me the space to make it, but I still wanted something very angular.

I started sketching on paper first and then moved into Fusion 360 to do the final sketch. I went through 4 or 5 iterations/attempts on Fusion, and I was successful in making something I am proud of. I hit a wall, however, when it was time to create a dxf file to send it to the cam. I also had a hard time going into the cam mode in Fusion, primarily because the metric kept going to millimeters, even after I changed it to inches. I finally ended up making a sketch in Vectorworks, which is a harder tool than Fusion to design, but afforded me easier traffic between program to G code.

I used a 1/2 inch straight bit on basswood on the CNC. When the cut was done I realized I forgot to outline the neck pocket on the CAM. I changed the file, left the slab of wood on the CNC and decided to recut it. Big Mistake. I made sure to readjust the X Y and Z coordinates to the proper 0 position but it ended up being off by a hair. The result is that once the router started its path it started chipping away at the bottom corner of the guitar, eventually destroying the whole tip of it. It also cut through some of the body, which made my dimensions smaller, a consequence that really effected the neck pocket size.  I decided to cut the tip off on the circular saw and sand away the difference of the edges.  The result is not exactly what I hoped for, but I managed to save it. The neck pocket can be sanded down to fit the neck better, but I plan on cutting another piece of wood again anyway.

 

 Original Sketch by hand.

Fusion 360 Sketch.

Vectorworks Final Sketch.

 18 x 14 x 1.75 Basswood on the CNC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interactive Music Midterm

I created three loops in Tone j.s that are made to be played together. My experiment is to see how everyone interacts with each other based on their responsibility to play the loop. I will give them these instructions:

 

1. Based On the Number I gave you, Look up the word Obtuse, followed by the number I gave you.

2. I want you to listen to the piece on your own, with headphones on.
3. I want you to think about the elements of the piece. The frequencies, the patterns, if it’s fast or slow.
There will be a countdown.
When it hits the one marker the time will start ticking.
I want you to start playing and stopping the piece based on how you think it fits with everyone else’s.
The purpose of this piece is to exercise intuitive improvisation.

 

 

 

Connectors- Design as Strategy and Practice.

It was really interesting to think this week about connectors. My approach to this was to find objects or situations that wouldn’t be able to happen without a connection. I naturally looked toward infrastructure, i.e streets, trains, buildings, etc. Once I started observing these things I started realizing that connectors are what holds our world together. On a macro level, streets and subways seem pretty obvious, but there are even more micro connectors that make these bigger connectors happen. Streets connect to other streets to form neighborhoods, and on a macro level the whole country is actually connected via streets.  On a micro level, however, those streets are held together by blacktop or concrete, which include many connectors, like portland, sand, and water. Below the streets there is a sewage system that runs all the way to the ocean. Next to those pipes are wires that connect every building with electricity. All the components to connect those wires… and the list goes on and on. In fact, after a while it was hard to see anything as anything other than a connection.

 

For my connection project, I took advantage of my thoughts and ideas about music making. In Always On, Always Connected, I am in the process of building a music making app. The work is tricky, as I have been experimenting with different approaches, what works and what doesn’t. What makes sense, giving that our cell phone is a bundle of sensors that can connect a huge variety of other sensors. It isn’t just a screen. It’s a microphone, a flashlight, a gyroscope, etc.

For now I have only been able to connect some elements that would comprise the app. A virtual keyboard, A sequencer, and Volume a control. Nothing is functioning yet, I still have to write the code to connect Tone. j.s and CSS with these interfaces. 

 

 

Module Project- Design as Strategy and Practice

 

For my module creation project I decided to make three loops that are designed to be played either separate or in unison. I have plenty of experience creating loops with real instruments, but I decided to experiment with a new medium I’m learning, Tone j.s. Why I am interested in this approach is because my interest is in building music instruments in both the app world and physical instruments as well. I’m currently working on the design of an app that is ultimately a music maker, but depending on the parameters I set, I still have an underlying control of what could be made and what can’t, i.e, note selection, sound selection, and rhythm selection. There is a fine line between producer, consumer, and collaborator using this method. I am essentially curating the instrument within the instrument.

Tone j.s is the Javascript Library we are learning in Interactive Music, where we not only experiment with making new music, but also in how it is “consumed.” This word is in quotes because I really hate using it, but it seems to represent the current model in music appreciation on the large scale.

My ultimate goal is to create a system where the general audience is both the producer and consumer, and, in these three loops, which are of course, experimental, I’m wondering whether people will be interested in having a loop bank, a la Garageband, or whether their parameters should have more creative control.