Development Journal #2
Entering the world of circuit building
I participated in the workshop ‘Electricity Matters’ in November 2017 at STEIM. The workshop dealt with building an analog synthesizer. It was the first time for me to work on the DIY synth world.
Since this workshop, I came up with an idea which is combining circuit instruments with e-waste to make e-waste analog synthesizer.
Handmade Electronic Music
Jan. - May. 2018
Sorting out e-waste
I decided to make as many circuit instruments as I can.
I will try with several different oscillator chips together with any possible components from e-waste.
To begin with, I sorted out components I can use from my e-waste collection.
Here is the list of components from e-waste that I can (possibly) use to connect with the analog synthesizer.
- push button
According to this categorizing, I’ll combine these components with several different circuit instruments.
The other e-wastes which are not sorted from this categorization:
still can be utilized as a resistor by connecting somewhere on their body to the circuit instruments.
I found an excellent tool for catching and listening electromagnetic wave, which is ‘Elekrosluch’, developed by the label LOM.
I wanted to try it with curiosity, but it was sold out at the time and also a little bit expensive for me as well.
Luckily, I found a tutorial on Make magazine, written by the Jonáš Gruska, who developed the elektrosluch at LOM.
So following this guide, I made my own simple version of elektrosluch.
Result: It works but not loud enough to use as an instrument. I need to find a way to amplify the sound.
For the Shaky Grounds festival in June at my college, I started to collaborate with Lucija, who plays cello and studies at Conservatory since last March.
I planned to make some interaction between cello and my e-waste robot, so I decided to make a contact microphone to attach on the cello so that I can manipulate signals from the cello.
I found a tutorial for contact microphone made by Marco Donnarumma, and it was devised for his Xth sense project.
It can catch very subtle vibration and is easy to deal with by using the software like MaxMSP.
Besides making the instrument, I was also working with computer fans to make them as an interactive installation.
The initial idea was to control the speed of each fan according to the signal from the cello, but I couldn’t handle it in that way.
Thus I just used relay module with Arduino to turn on and off the fans at regular intervals.
(only on/off is possible, cannot controll its speed!)
Then I decided to use LED strips instead for making interaction between fans and the cello.
I could handle the illuminance of lights according to the signal that the contact microphone received from the cello by programming MaxMSP.
I put LEDs inside the paper cup and put them behind the fans.
So when activated together, the light spreads out through the fans, and this looks quite nice as the spinning fan makes the light softer.
While reading "A Geology of Media" by Jussi Parikka, I got to know that one of important recycling process at e-waste dumpsite is to excavate and sort out metal from all broken parts.
I searched how we can detect metals and found there are quite easy ways to make DIY metal detector!
Mostly this metal detector works with IC555 timer chip in order to make sounds when it detects metal.
Thus I decided to make a metal detector. I'll will use e-waste as materials to make metal detector, and then use the metal detector to detect and find metals from e-waste again. (what a cycle!)
I thought not only the metal detector would be useful, but also it would be very playful. I could find several thick coils(made from copper) among my e-waste, which I need for the metal detector.
So I took one coil out from a complicated looking board and made a circuit with amplifier chip and this coil.
Eventhough I can hear the sounds when I tried, however, the sound was not very distinctive whether it catches up the metal or not.
And there are many variables that affect the accuracy of this metal detector such as the size of the coil, values of resistors and capacitors.
Anyways when I tired with the same value of resistors and capacitors as tutorials, the sound was not clear thus I guess I maybe have to try with a bigger coil.
However at the moment, when I change the value of resistors and capacitors randomly and put metals close to this metal detector, it makes sounds for some reason.
But I’m not sure if it works properly.
Integrated Chips - Schmitt trigger Oscillator and its friends
May. 2018 - Ongoing
Analog Circuit Synthesizer
I began to work with analog synthesizer and e-waste together during the Spring semester.
I used some electronic components among my e-waste collection as a part of the circuit instrument.
This process was quite interesting because each electronic waste has its own resistance value so that I could make different sounds from every different e-waste.
For the first trial, I made an oscillator with distortion and modulation and connected three e-waste to the oscillator.
I liked the combination of the sound of boiler component, ethernet adapter, and floppy disc, so I played with this combination until the end of the semester.
The book "Handmade Electronic Music" by Nicolas Collins helped me a lot and the workshop "Electricity Matters" by Nataliya Petkova at STEIM as well for developing this work.
I named as 'eno' for the series of analog synthesizers that I make, which is designed to be connected with e-waste. The numbers following after 'eno' can tell what kinds of chips combined on one synthesizer.
eno26 is a combination of integrated chip CD40106, CD4049, and CD4093. I can connect three or more e-wastes with eno26. I can play with distortion and modulation from eno26.
eno15 consists of CD4093 and CD4040 chips. The CD4093 works as a Schmitt trigger like CD40106.
I can connect components from the CD4093 Oscillator like this way.
Let's hook up eno15 to e-waste!
eno29 is a sequencer and it is composed of CD40106, CD4040, and CD4051.
It has at least eight connection points to hook up to e-waste. So when I play eno29, I can use lots of e-waste as components.
eno17 consists of CD4093 and CD4051.
It makes non synchronized sounds when the Schmitt trigger(CD4093 or CD40106) is connected to only CD4051.
eno21 contains CD40106 and CD4069 chips.
Together with Schmitt trigger, CD4069 chip makes much smoother sounds as it is ‘buffered’ and has a triangle wave.
Pictures of trial setup for Playful Obsolescence(e-waste instruments). In this setup, I used five enos with e-waste collection. The setting works both for the exhibition and the performance.
Exhibitions and Festivals
I've been participating in exhibitions and festivals around the Netherlands and Seoul with my 'Playful Obsolescence'(e-waste instruments) since March 2018.
Shaky Grounds Festival
Exhibition Forking Room:Your Smart Neighborhood
Tut Tot Tud
Instruments Make Play Fair