AIR Proposal

Research and development of a system for creating affordable multi-channel audio installations and environments for small museums, galleries, collectives or others on a budget.

### Project Description
With the rise of free software — Linux, PureData, Freesound project, Mootcher — and free or cheap hardware — unused PCs that can run Linux, the plummeting prices of hard drive space, deals to be found on CraigsList, eBay, eDealInfo, Skimper, the MacMini — the means of assembling a system that can process multi-channel audio are now in the hands of a wider public. The bits and parts, tips and tricks, are available, scattered across the internet, blogosphere, message boards, forums, email lists, &c.; a reliable, easy to follow method of putting all the pieces together is lacking. In this project, I propose to develop a step-by-step method so that organizations or individuals on a budget can create and use multi-channel audio systems.

To accomplish this the project is borken down into four phases:

1. Learn the basics of using PureData on Linux and the basics of multi-channel audio processing in PureData (4 weeks).

2. Research the best channels and methods of acquiring cheap and/or free hardware and software — PCs, monitors, soundcards, amplifiers, speakers, controllers, &c. (3 weeks).

3. Write a “how to” white paper for (a) acquiring components, (b) setting up the system and (c) the basics of generating and processing multi-channel audio – to be released with a Creative Commons license (4 weeks).

4. Use the methods from the white paper to build a system and create a multi-channel audio environment (5 weeks).

###Final Output
My project will take the final form of (a) a white paper – released with a Creative Commons license – and lecture/workshop on the method for acquiring, setting up and using an affordable, multi-channel audio environment; and (b) a working, multi-channel audio environment using this method for creation.

### Facilities
As this project is about learning and teaching to build audio systems on a budget, most of the equipment will be coming from outside sources. However, it would be helpful to have one or two PCs with soundcards running Linux; access to amplifier and speakers; and internet access. I would need basic technical support for Linux and the existing audio equipment. Using the space at EYEBEAM to realize this project will be a major plus: uninterrupted time and space to experiment with amplified audio.

### Work Sample
The attached mp3, “A Voice Stutter, Skin Shudder, Heart Flutter,” is a two channel representation of a sound piece I would like to present in more channels. Currently, there is play between the left and right channels, tonal cluster call and response, a sense of forward movement. I would like to explore three-dimensional, sonic space with the elements of this piece: movement through and around the listener. Working with a limited budget, my ability to produce multi-channel audio has been limited to experiments with two cassette tapes — 2 x 2 channels (left and right) = 4 channels. But something committed to tape cannot be affected by real-time events or be easily edited, queued or adapted into other multimedia applications. By exploring and experimenting with accessible methods of enabling sound to move and occupy three dimensional space — specifically with a PureData-driven work station — I hope to, in the process, enable other individuals and organizations with a practical approach to creating multi-channel audio.

### Public Lecture
I feel that a public workshop or event would be a perfect forum to introduce a system for building and creating affordable multi-channel audio environments.

Item originally posted to a defunct personal wordpress installation