Interactive Musical Sculpture
20” x 24” x 6”
Thesauraphone is an interactive sound sculpture, derived from the results of an experimental treasure mapping system and subsequent expedition in Oklahoma City, on March 31st, 2013. The shape, size and location of paths taken and treasures found, are examples of data abstracted to physical elements in the instrument. It is in the fact the results of the expedition that determine the position of the guitar string as it passes through each section of the instrument, as a result the treasure hunt is plotted musically, as each section, representing a portion of the expedition, produces a unique pitch. A total of five objects were discovered, they are displayed in the instrument. The final object, a plastic children's toy, which I refer to as Treasure #5, is accompanied by a small journal describing the experimental treasure mapping system I developed for this project.
My life and experiences are shaped by data. Data I rarely generate, much less own or control. This project acts as a way to interject. With this project, I construct my own sets of data and move through the world accordingly.
Experimental Treasure Mapping
The experimental treasure mapping system I developed for this project is an idiosyncratic sequence of actions that will always produce a series of unique treasure maps. The maps generated are accessible via an iPhone application designed for the project. Click for more:
The expedition itself is perhaps the most satisfying experience of the project. It is possible no one has ever seen the city in this order or in this way. I feel like a modern day member of the Situationist International practicing dérive. Their self defined psychogeography may be used to describe my project, “...a whole toy box full of playful, inventive strategies for exploring cities...just about anything that takes pedestrians off their predictable paths and jolts them into a new awareness of the urban landscape.”
step 001 | bacteria sample
I collected a sample of bacteria from my mouth.
The sample grew in a petri dish.
This sample is the first object displayed in the Thesauraphone.
step 002 | MICROSCOPE
Using a USB microscope, I took an image of the bacteria.
step 003 | convert to coordinates
A program prepared in Processing converted the image to blobs.
I randomly selected a blob...
I configured the program to plot the coordinates of the blob relative to the center of Oklahoma City, OK, and export them to a web server.
step 004 | push coords to iPhone
An iPhone application I created downloads the coordinates from the web server and superimposes the blob onto a realtime-location-aware (GPS) map.
step 005 | navigate to blob
Using my iPhone application as a GPS guide, I navigated to the perimeter of the blob.
step 006 | traverse blob
I traversed the perimeter of the blob using a metal detector. I channeled the spirit of Harriet Boyd Hawes, but ultimately I was seeking treasure.
step 007 | find first treasure
After some digging, and dumpster diving along the perimeter, I eventually found a “treasure” on the pavement surface.
This is the second object displayed in the Thesauraphone.
step 008 | create new map
I used my USB microscope to take an image of the the found object.
I then repeated steps 003-004 to create an all new EXPERIMENTAL TREASURE MAP based on the surface of the found object.
step 009 | new object & new map
I used my iPhone application to traverse the path of the newest blob. Eventually I found a piece of synthetic material I do not know the source of. This is the third object displayed in the Thesauraphone.
I used my USB microscope to take an image of the strange and foreign object.
I then repeated steps 003-004 to create an all
new EXPERIMENTAL TREASURE MAP based on the surface of the newest found object.
step 010 | new object & new map
I used my iPhone application to traverse the path of the newest blob. This particular blob was smack dab in the middle of downtown. Heavily paved areas proved difficult for proper treasure hunting. All I could find was a shiny piece of tinfoil at the corner of a construction site. Leftovers from a worker’s packed lunch? This is the fourth object displayed in the Thesauraphone.
I used my USB microscope to take an image of the tinfoil. I repeated steps 003-005 to create an all new EXPERIMENTAL TREASURE MAP based on the surface of the tinfoil.
step 011 | new object & new map
I used my iPhone application to proceed to the newest blob. The only thing of interest found was a list of numbers. This is the fifth object on display in the Thesauraphone.
At this time the sun began to set. I used my USB microscope to take an image of the found paper. I repeated steps 003-005 to create an all new EXPERIMENTAL TREASURE MAP based on the surface of the found paper.
step 012 | final object
I use my iPhone application to proceed to the newest blob. Along the perimeter of the final map I found Treasure #5, a small children's toy.
** Treasure Mapping System **
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