(Play this while you read, preferably with headphones. this post was created with the intention of being heard simultaneously.)
Since arrivng in Detroit, I have been crawling down into the rabbit hole trying to comprehend things. this place has a palpable energy. it is no coincidence that so much crazy shit has happened here throughout time. My host has given me space to be me and my drastically modified diet of mostly spirulina and rice has cleared fog that i didnt know was there. i wasnt able to put it into words until today. i feel like i need to document this moment while it is still fresh in my mind.
for the last few months, i have been refining the exo-voice prosthesis, in all relevant dimensions; biomechanical design, sonological design and sonomorphological construction(more on these last two in a moment). ive learned that each properly realized stage of development usually becomes a singularity which then becomes the new base-level-the new normal upon which every other stage is built.
the most recent singularities have been the realization of a hand unit form that is biomechanically neutral while enabling as much gestural expression as possible. once the hands were free to express themselves fully, a new singularity expressed itself almost immediately. having fixed the thumb positioning, palm angle and index finger height, a very new cohesion in the sonomorphology has been attained.
what is music? when music is not "constructed" properly, you can percieve it, even if your are not trained in creating it. once i finally had a hardware construct that was working, i turned my attention fully back to sonomorphology (sonic form) and sonologic (the "why" of the sonic form). the idea of good sound is less aesthetic and more architectural now. so i have been playing with some basic interactions of nature; hot/cold, wet/dry. these produce the commonl known; earth, air, fire and water. I had been looking for a conceptual underpinning for the sonic idea of the exo-voice system. it should be able to gesturally construct any sound form conceivable, from properly expressed representations of these modalities. i
recently, someone i care about informed me that they were going to the hospital for a procedure. i hate hospitals. the word itself induces anxiety in me, so to dissipate said anxiety and project a strong constructive energy to that person, i created a “sonomorph” for that person. what this means is that i projected as much constructive intent as i could, into the sonic fractal. whether it meant anything or not, is not the point. the sonomorph was not constructed to entertain. it was the sonic representation of an intent...a sort of sonic fractal prayer, if you will. upon listening to it later, i sensed a morphology that was distinct and different from previous forms but i couldnt quite determine what it was…until i made a recent soujourn into hyperspace.
upon entering the state, i meditated on the sonomorph by lying down and listening to it with headphones, in the dark. the first listen was strongly visual. the second listen 30 minutes later had a curious effect; the visuals were the same but more realized. by the 3rd listen something occured in my perception;
the realization that the sonomorph was creating a repeatable volumetric space within my mindspace.
the "song" was a place.
but moreover, inside that place were what could only be described as machines. not machines like on this plane of perception. these machines had tentacles and mounting mechanisms that held them in place and each tentacle was multicolored with each color being a sort of circuit pattern, like scales on a snake but varying in geometry and in bright, almost tacky colors. the reason i knew the sonomorph was creating it was that as soon as the piece ended, everything in the space kind of dissipated into a more randomized field of colors and squigglies, but as soon as the piece was restarted, the structure reasserted itself within the disorder, bringing back the previous structural morphology. some of the form can be seen in this phase scope representation of the piece.(will post a video later today) its not representative of what is seen in hyperspace but it does give some idea of the order present within the piece. (note the toroidal shapes at the beginning of the piece. )
the conclusion i came to was that this newer sonomorph, modulated by focused intent, IS a machine. a machine that resides in mindspace. i also listened to the piece "duality" that i posted a few days before creating this piece for comparison.
duality was assembled from a dozen or so recordings, done at different times over a two week period rather than a single piece created with intent. within hyperspace, it was "broken". it did not create a space nor did it produce machines in that space.
this blew my mind a bit.
it suggested that it was not merely the style of sound or how it is played but rather "why" it is played.
within this matrix, the previously mentioned elements (air, earth, water, fire) produce the form; water is easily expressed as the low complexity, gurggling filters ive been using. fire is represented by distortion, clipping, harmony or energetic conceptualization. fire "radiates" energy in any form. fire can be applied to "air", which is represented by the more flowing melodic elements which tend to make up the "machines" those elements that have a function and purpose that emerge out of and distinct from the generalized background of the form. its opposite is "earth" or solid, which finds it most obvious expression as hits and thuds. in addition, air and earth are “inputs” while hot and cold are modulators! so combinations of these elements promises some interesting resulting expressions.
what is also interesting is that although the structure dissipates at the end of the sonomorph, like a cloud of smoke, the "perception" of the structure does not. the intent machines continue to be perceptible and functional after leaving hyperspace.
what if it is possible to create “self programmable” sonomorphs that build programmable mind machines within mindspaces, which could be used to structure our own focus on what we determine our intent to be? music as transdimensional architecture. like a string of song hooks with syntactic structure. the exo-voice becomes a recursive "intent amplifier".
so back in "this" space
what the exo-voice is here on this plane, the sonomorph is as an exo-technological interface for intent. the exploration and design and evolution of sonic fractals that gravitate toward “architectural mechanics” hence the shift in terminology from sonic fractal to sonomorph. all elements on “this” side should create a "multi" dimensional expression that consciously enables “trans”dimensional sonomorphology.
the expression of light, sound and design on this plane of reality, can imply higher dimensional forms that create sonological machines of intent within the mind construct, which then feeds back into design changes of light, sound, and design, meaning…that with each focused design upgrade the resolution of the sonomorph increases, which then influences the next design change, rinse…repeat…
sonomorphology is a bridge between this plane of reality and hyperspace.
For some reason, I always feel like apologizing for the dearth of posts I make now. but trust me…its for the best. I think about sharing my process in the moment but, especially as the winter creeps up, I now know better. those that know me personally know that I am not short on words or ideas and can talk endlessly about them (especially in the winter), which was a reason I loved berlin. it’s a city for such people. but when I am swimming in idea mutations and variations on themes that have nothing to do with anything I am working on, it gets to be too much even for my more talkative friends. BUT, it is necessary…I cant stop the process…I wouldn’t even try. its too amazing. swirls of ideas, history, cosmic forms, algorithms, all mutating amongst each other as if they are the same. no limitation on possibility. universes expanding and collapsing a thousand times a day. but the problem is that I might need to invent a universe that will spawn a concept that doesn’t exist here then, as Sun Ra would say, “Transmolecularize” it into something that could exist here on this plane, but even that might be transitional so in the end it was just a thought experiment for the sake of creating a new sound or form. if I shared all or even some of them, it would become a confusion of sketches never meant for expression outside of my own mind-modelling construct. so now I wait until the process cools a bit and then share a concise overview.
case in point; upon arriving back in mississippi, I was all ready to investigate 3 things specifically;
- conductive ABS plastic filament
- the atmel328 microprocessor, effectively turning the system into arduinos rather than purchasing already made arduinos
- the ESP8266 wifi tranciever
I ordered and received a roll of conductive ABS a few days before returning to the south. while at Noisebridge Hackerspace in san francisco, I was “conducting” electrical conductivity tests to determine how best to incorporate this new material. as a carbon-plastic composite, this material can conduct electricity weakly, but well enough to create simple touch and temperature sensors. this was my focus. some of the more unique properties of the material, like not letting it cool in the nozzle because the carbon will settle in the end and clog on next use, blowing up the hotend, did set me back a couple of times, but thus is experimentation. I began to glean valuable data. enough data to recognize that I could, with a bit more experimentation, use this material for touch sensors. this would make the hand units so sexy! the design is currently restricted by the size and shape of the sensors, switches and other components necessary to get basic functionality. by printing most if not all of those components, the scope for design zooms off at warp speed!
so it was that I calibrated my reprap a bit more, just to ensure that the size tolerances were precise. printing sensors into the design would be a multistep process until I adapt my reprap for multimaterial printing. I would have to print the nylon part then the sensor/circuit parts seperately. I had my sketches and my coffee and a time horizon of 3 solid uninterrupted weeks and on the first post calibration test print…the reprap stopped printing and nothing I did would get it to start back up………………………………….its like someone mushing a booger into a slice of pizza you have been standing in line and salivating for for hours except there was no one to punch in the face. so after the usual “why do I do this to myself?/Whats wrong with my life?” episode, I ordered a new different board, but more on that in a bit.
so at this point I have a week…a WHOLE fucking week to kill but lucky me, there is never a dull moment with this system so I reached for the electronic components I had just ordered and received; the atmega328 microprocessor and the esp8266 wifi tranciever. the arduino uno is based on the atmega328 and for those that don’t know, the arduino is not only a product in itself but an open source project as well. the majority of the work inside the arduino is done with the atmega chip. add a couple resistors and a 8 or 16mhz crystal for timing and you can build in full arduino functionality for about $5. from there you can customize it for the exact functionaity you want and save money as well as design space since the chip is about the size of a 6 year olds pinky finger.
I was able to get basic code onto it to do the well known blinky light test. but ran into issues getting standard firmata onto it. this is the basis of my systems IO. so I shifted gears to the ESP8266, since I really wanted to be printing right now, and didn’t have the desire to fiddle with error messages. the ESP8266 is the superstar of 2014 maker-dom. 32bit processor, upgradable firmware, 20db broadcast strength (my current trancievers are 12db max) and did I mention FIVE DOLLARS EACH!! by contrast, my rn-xv’s are $35 each. there are demos online of people getting 4km range out of these things! and…AND each one can act as an accesspoint!! what this means is that I will be getting rid of the wireless router as soon as I get this thing to do my bidding. the entire network can then be worn on body and cost less than one of the trancivers I use today, with increased reception! my experiments got me up to the point where the exo-voice connected with one of them as an access point. I flashed the firmware and studied the datasheets but was distracted by the arrival of my new reprap brains arrival in the mail.
my reprap was acquired from the guy who invented the category-adriam bowyers-Emaker. the board I received with the printer kit back in late 2011 was arduino variant designed specifically for 3d printing called the “melzi ardentissmo” it was designed to be be an all in one, easy to replicate 3d printer board. just wire in your motors and hotend and print. and it has been a pretty nice board, but with one major flaw; it’s a single board, or what I like to call, a single point of failure. if one thing dies, the board could be toast. I say “could be” because numerous things have died over time. the bed, the hotend, the extruder. luckily I could reroute around blown circuits to other, unused pins, but with everything on a single specialized board, it meant that eventually youd have to buy another whole board, which I had already done a year earlier and they are not the cheapest option.
so with this failure I decided to move over to what seems to be the closest thing to a standard platform that repraps have- the RAMPS board. this is a shield that plugs onto an arduino mega. I like this board a lot so far. it is very modular and each part is very inexpensive. chinese made arduino megas are around $15-20 and the RAMPS shield, with small replaceable motor shields, cost $17. I paid $34 total for everything compared to $90 for the melzi. luckily the same firmware I used for the melzi, Marlin, I could use on this board, so I loaded the firmware and did surprisingly minimal calibration. probably because I did all the firmware calibration before the previous board blew up, but I digress because I’m back in the game.
this board allows me new features and freedoms as well. there is an extra empty slot for another extruder, which I will need to integrate printed circuitry into the my next designs (yaaaaay!!). I can use my heated bed again as well. the power to it had fried a long time ago and I havent really needed it but its nice to know I can use the headed bed if I really need it. and finally, I can power it with anything from 12v to 35v. I decided to continue using my existing 19v power brick but if neccessary, I could use almost any desktop computer power supply. this flexibility is greatly appreciated. and just to be sure, I added a new hotend heater cartridge and thermistor and have a backup just in case because I don’t want to deal with anymore unintended downtime for the forseeable future.
the “cicada” mask
while in memphis Eric swartz and I came upon a cicada, a large rare strange looking insect that only emerge from whereever the hell they come from, every 7 years and then , only for 7days before they die. most of their life is spent in a sort of, as eric put it, “telepathic dream state” and to be honest, 7 years is a hell of a long time to be in any state so we figured that theirs is a multidimensional existence. telepathic dream state for most of their lives, then blasting onto this plane in an explosion of flying, buzzing reproductive brilliance then onto the next plane 7 days later…..
everyday I go outside and sit in the grass and go places. I just let my mind journey whereever it chooses, until it gets too hot or the bugs realize that im stationary, at which point I sketch things. one such thing was a new kind of mask. in the last couple of years, more and more of my assumptions of what “should” be, are dissolved. I realize that most of those forms are from my previous programming by way of mass media. it was the reason for my helmet fixation all those years ago. I felt that a cool head covering…a functional head covering must be a helmet of some sort because…just because. I never really thought much about it til someone asked online, upon seeing my choice of headgear at the time, “ why are you wearing a helmet? are you planning on getting hit in the head?” of course said commenter was trolling me but he/she had a point; why was I repurposing military gear for my expression? primarily, I think, because I didn’t have a self realized construct that could do the job any better. “the job”. what job? functionally, the helmet I had allowed me to consolidate my various electronic components in a singular appartus-mic, headphones, goggles (because I like goggles), all in one form.
on this particular day, sitting in the grass I resketched a concept I had investigated a number of different ways over the last year. to revisit the form-fitted mohawk “arms” of my previous design but make them more integral to the design beyond just hanging goggles on the end of them. the mohawk has acted as an anchor in most of my laterday designs. it keeps my designs from shifting around on my head and has an easthetic I love. but the previous designs always returned to being held to the head by straps on the sides of my head. the previous mask design broke me of this habit.
I found the previous mask to be functionally very good but aesthetically hideous. it was a perpetual battle in my mind between function and aesthetic. I kept getting pulled in one direction or the other. while in california, i t gave me the chance to investigate my software more but the box-on-my-face thing offended my sense of symmetry and flow. I obviously didn’t freak out about it but it was continual thing I would revisit when I dreamed.
from the dreams come sketches and on this day I imagined a form that left the sides of my face, head and neck open and placed everything down the middle of my head. because why not?
what is interesting about the modelling process now is that the CAD work and printing work are the last 10% of the process. the preceeding 90% consists of eyes closed visioning of, first, the world the design is most natural in, and then the design that expresses that place. in that world there was no need for militaristic overtones or inelegant function for function sake. in that space, insect inspired design is very natural and mid-face mechanics are the norm.
as a side note, the two small feet in the very back , sit at a perfect angle directly on the mastoid bone at the back-base of the skull
in that world, the purpose was not for “performance”. it was for self-o-nautics; investigating the self-“I”-verse. the pads along the ridge of the head were primarily for electrical stimulation. function expresses itself in the dimension of aesthetic as well as computer interfacing. we, this mask and I, went on many many adventures in many worlds, where I got to see how the design would respond to differing situations; I could see and feel when it would slip or bite or be too bulky-and ever so often I would emerge from this place to add or deduct a line or a curve to the sketch until it became an interconnected collection of pieces that could be realized with my tiny little single material reprap.
I must say, I am ALWAYS amazed when the designs materialize from this process looking and acting the way I designed them in mind-space. when the sketch first appears on paper, I see it and think, “hmmmm…that is going to be way outside of my capabilities” but it never is. it just takes FOREVER to imagine properly. the design work is done with eyes closed, sometimes for months. one tweak that I am especially happy with is the addition of 3 mm to the tip of the mouthpiece which allows me to bite the mouthpiece to hold it in place while I play. this steadies the mask and the pitch control simultaneously.
the next phase is to integrate the atmega/esp8266 combo into it and refine that. once that works there, it will be much easier to integrate into the hand units. currently I mounted the arduino box from the previous design, into the chin while shortening the mouthpiece to make it flush with the front of the mask.
but I wont be changing anything else until after my presentation at the detroit entheogen conference on saturday. I am doing a presentation of multidimensional expression and hyperdimensional artifacts do I even have to paint a picture of how crazy that presentation is going to be with this mask? makes me want to cry, im so exicted. afterwhich, I plan to investigate detroit and explore the birthplace of techno. I have assembled a few new nomadic tools into my gear bag. more on that in the next post.