With the advent of easily-available microcontrollers, LEDs, and sound recording modules, audiovisual artists have been able to produce a plethora or new and exciting interactions. One such amazing installation is the Wall of Sound by panGenerator, commissioned by Katowice Street Art 2019: Urban Sound in southern Poland.
The Wall of Sound, as described here, “is an experiment in bringing the tools for creating electronic music – sampler / sequencer – into the public space and thus creating an open platform for music expression suited for broad audience.” Physically, the installation is a web of hexagonally-connected nodes, each of which is powered by its own ATmega328 microcontroller and linked to one another by ATtiny chips.
Audience members are invited to engage with the piece by recording their own voice and playing the sound back in endless variations. Each node interacts with its neighbors and the environment, bouncing signals back and forth via physical linking hardware. Links between each one contain a series of lights inside, allowing the signal be visualized as it “travels” to and fro. Which — of the six possible — neighbor is signaled is dictated by the orientation of its rotary encoders.
It’s an interesting experiment in how we affect each other in our daily lives. As with many real world interactions, the end result is left entirely up to the audience. Be sure to see it in action in the video clip below!