Three Noise Machines

EMAIL – Ensemble Monitors Active Information Levels

This first machine relies on the assumption that there are factors (specific to each person) which consistently correlate with the enjoyment of one’s day. For me, these factors include hours slept and weather, but someone else might want to attend to the value of a particular stock or the number of times a certain word appears in the morning news headlines. These fluctuating values control an ensemble of autonomous instruments. I envision a collection of tuned timpanis and suspended cymbals of various sizes and timbres. Each instrument rolls at a volume determined by the current status of the value it is paired with. I’m not so concerned with precision; the intention is not to read the noise machine like a data table. Rather, one would use the ensemble to develop a “second sense” for a day’s trajectory. As far as operation, EMAIL is only active when it detects someone peron in close proximity. It lives in homes and offices, and is silent save for a well-behaved daily report.

BIP – Biodegradable Introspection Pill (I want to swallow a pill and listen to it make its way through my digestive system)

To be clear, this is less of an idea for a noise-producing machine than a noise transmitting machine (a carefully placed microphone). It considers the ongoing sounds in the human body rich territory for exploration – rich “sound material”. Form-wise, the BIP is housed by a standard vitamin capsule. (It is important that it doesn’t look scary, after all, this is something one is meant to swallow.) The electronics within are either decomposed in the body, or safely disposed along with other bodily waste. Although it is not necessary to interact with the machine, one could “play” it by eating certain foods or by making vigorous motions. Future intimacy: long-distance couples exchange livestreams of their digestive soundscapes.

SAC – Synchronized Aural Convoy

When we listen with our ears we are limited to one vantage point. While I don’t see how this limitation can be overcome, there might be ways to simulate the experience of having many more ears. A flock of microphone-equipped RC cars and quadrocopters roam about according to factors of environment. They relay sound to a central system which collates the sounds to a single stream which is transmitted to the human. In this case, the sound materials are just ambient sounds in the world. The ideal context for SAC is a hiking expedition, where quadrocopters operate from above and RC cars scout for sonic activity on the ground. Again, this idea is not for a noise-producing machine, but rather a machine for broadening the range of sounds one can listen to in his or her physical proximity.

– Miles


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