Soundblock by Kenneth Cameron

Kenneth Cameron is an interdisciplinary designer and researcher working in the areas of architecture, exhibition design, and locative media.  He is currently conducting design based research projects related to locative media and urban soundscapes at the Laboratory for Ubiquitous Computing at the University of California, Irvine.  Kenneth has a background in Architecture and Design, having received a Masters in Architecture from SCI-Arc and is currently pursuing his PhD in the Informatics department at UC Irvine.

Soundblock is an interactive sound installation designed to invite public participation in the urban soundscape. Soundblock will utilize the selective playback of high quality stereo sound samples recorded on site to produce a soundscape that is layered with both live and prerecorded audio. The Soundblock project will utilize MAXMSP software and Arduino hardware in combination with three IR distance sensors in order to allow for public selection and playback multiple field recordings derived from the surrounding landscape. Each selection can then be manipulated in pitch and frequency based on the audience distance from the Soundblock. By raising attention to ambient sound in the city, participants are encouraged to discern specific sound sources. By capturing individual fragments and allowing for their combined playback in situ, the Soundblock installation creates an opportunity for the remixing of soundscapes according to the desires of the participants. Foregrounding ambient sound and producing a space for pedestrian composition creates an opportunity for participants to change their soundscape rather than submit to it.

Do you remember the first Max patch you ever made? What was it?

A gestural video editor using jitter and cv.jit. It allowed for live editing of a video installation using a web cameras and frame differencing technologies. This was a few years back, 2007/08.

How did you come up with this project idea?

I'm interested in the production of soundscapes in urban space that seek to create a dialogue between public and private spaces in the city. Sound has an ability to bleed nicely between the two which led me to the production of a small sound installation that can be performed on the street or sidewalk.

What sorts of problems did you have to solve?

Mainly power and network connectivity issues. MAX app for iPhone someday? ;)

If there were one person who you would want to see your project, who would it be?

There's a moderately crazy lady that occasionally wonders down Elm street in Long Beach making some noise. If she hears it, i think that would be fine.

At the conclusion of this project were you:
a) exhausted
b) ready to do a new one
c) thinking of ways to expand it
d) [other, please describe]

Thinking of ways to expand it. I would like to try to incorporate, facilitate live exchange of audio media with the device in the future.

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