Autonomous Art is an experimental project that is currently in progress. It evolved from a class project to create a concept for kinetic visualization into a personal project that will be a fully functional and fully designed physical object. Autonomous Art reads ambient sound from its environment over a minute's worth of time and records this ambient sound in a radial display of colored ink.
Below are screenshots of the digital version of the project, which I programmed in Processing, and a photo and video of a rough prototype for the physical version of the project. The screenshots from the digital version represent the first minute of three songs, which I chose to see how Autonomous Art would respond to different genres of music. Please scroll down past the last video on this page to read how the physical version of Autonomous Art works.
My main next step is to design and construct a form that clearly communicates the function of Autonomous Art and allows the ink to be dispersed more precisely. This form will place the ink display at the center of attention and efficiently house all of the electronics that allow Autonomous Art to work. I will also experiment with different inks or make my own inks to find a mixture that doesn't run easily, so the resulting display is crisp and clear.
The screenshots of the digital version of Autonomous Art represent the first minute of the following songs:
1. Last Flowers To The Hospital - Radiohead
2. Lex - Ratatat
3. Thriller - Michael Jackson
How Autonomous Art Works:
Autonomous Art records ambient sound with a microphone and then communicates this data to an applet that I programmed in Processing. The applet interprets the audio and simplifies it into values that represent the intensity of the audio at any given moment. This data is then sent to an Arduino microcontroller, which I programmed to communicate these values to a universal motor that is attached to a propeller. Colored ink drips at a controlled rate onto this propeller, and the propeller spins at a rate that corresponds to the intensity of the recorded ambient sound, which launches the colored ink to a distance that corresponds to the intensity of the recorded sound. The launched ink falls onto a circular sheet of paper that rests on a disk that is attached to an Arduino-controlled stepper motor, which I programmed to spin at one full revolution every minute. This results in the recording of a minute's worth of ambient sound in a radial display of colored ink.