Artist Residency at the I.S.R.O

I spent my spring 2018 exchange semester at Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore for a four month artist residency at the Indian Sonic Research Organisation. I conducted research for affordable and accessible video synthesis hardware. I built various audio and video instruments, held workshops, tutored students visiting the lab and helped to organise and performed at experimental audiovisual performances. The results of my video synthesis research are published as open source.

Huge thanks to Yashas Shetty and the crew at Art Science BLR Lab: Gavati Wad, Aditi Rajeev, Arun Kumar, Natraj and Parshuram!

The following list highlights some of my work during the residency.

RGBNDR video synthesiser

RGBNDR is a stand alone video synthesiser based on a circuit bent VGA test generator, inspired by Jonas Bers’ CHA/V. It consists of CMOS-based oscillators, logic gates, amplifiers and a mixer, that are used for generating different signals. These signals are used to interfere with the clean VGA test signal. The result is a controllable but chaotic and explorative video synthesiser that produces repetitive glitched geometric patterns.

The circuit bent cahasteristics of the RGBNDR makes the device explorative and surprising by nature. The images emerge from the distorted clean signal and produce unexpected reanging from near chaos to stable and geometrical patterns. The output can be modulated with an external audio signal, which makes the device great for VJ purposes.

Schematics available at github.com/ohss/rgbndr.

Here’s a short snippet posted on Instagram.

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Mehackit Music Machine

Mehackit Music Machine is an open source Arduino shield for controlling solenoid motors with MIDI. I was developing it earlier at Mehackit. The solenoid motors allow transforming any resonant object or a surface into an instrument. More about Mehackit Music Machine can be found from the project’s Github repository.

In my performances I would control the solenoids with an euclidian MIDI sequencer built with an Axoloti board and amplify the sounds with a contact microphone. A simple amplifier plus speaker box would feed back into the contact mic and generate rich rhythmical soundscapes with intense feedback sounds.

Mini Video Mixer

Based on the Schele Mixer schematic by Gijs Gieskes, Mini Video Mixer is a rudimentary active video mixer with a few effects. It mixes together two video signals but locks the sync to only one of the video sources. The result is two video signals mixed together (with the mix amount controlled by a potentiometer) with one of the source signals scrolling horizontally. Case art by Gavati Wad.

CV Controlled Cassette Decs

An instrument of two cassette players circuit bent for controlling playback speed. The speed of each player can be controlled with a potentiometer or with an external CV signal.

Portable Sonic Toolbox - An Eurorack / CMOS modular synthesiser

Portable Sonic Toolbox is a modular synthesiser built in a nice briefcase toolbox. Most of the modules are based on the Music From Outer Space Experimenter Board. Additionally it has few CMOS modules and an delay module. Nice aluminum case, portable and battery powered if necessary.

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Chitin 2nd Construction

Chitin 2nd Construction is a performance by Daniel Miller, an American artist also in residency at the I.S.R.O., which I created visuals for. A recording can be found at youtube.com/watch?v=2Ut6YWOdWgI.

Make Music with Code Workshop

Make Music With Code was a full day workshop exploring Sonic Pi – a live music programming environment by Sam Aron. During the workshop covered the principles of programming and explored the creative possibilities of using code as an interface for creating sound and music.

Oscillator BLR

Oscillator BLR was a sound art concert by the I.S.R.O. where I performed at. I was also part of the group organizing the event. I performed an experimental audiovisual piece titled ‘Found from the Sunday Market’ and played a live coding set with Sonic Pi.

Found from the Sunday Market is and experimental audiovisual performance based on field recordings from a part of town in Bangalore called Chickpet and self made instruments.

Chickpet is a market district, especially known for textile trade, with over 250 years of history. It is a mesmerising maze buzzing with small stores, vendors, people, vehicles and animals. Overwhelmed in sights, sounds, smells and crowds, I was inspired by the inviting flow of the area and the interesting soundscapes emerging from the seemingly chaotic sounds around. I did field recordings in the area and built DIY instruments. The self made instruments are made out of used electronics found from Chickpet’s buzzing Sunday market and out of electronic components purchased from the nearby electronics hub called ‘Spare Parts Road’.

Here’s few snippets from the performance: