International Computer Music Conference 2016 Papers Track

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Granular Wall: approaches to sonifying fluid motion

This paper describes the materials and techniques for creating a sound installation that relies on fluid motion as a source of musical control. A 4’ by 4’ acrylic tank is filled with water and several thousand neutrally-buoyant, fluorescent, polyethylene microspheres, which hover in stillness or create formations consistent with a variety of turbulent flows. Fluid motion is driven by four mounted propulsion jets, synchronized to create a variety of flow patterns. The resultant motion is sonified using three essential mapping techniques: feature matching, optical flow estimation, and the direct mapping from motion data to spectral audio data. The primary aim of the artists is to create direct engagement with the visual qualities of kinetic energy of a fluid and the unique musical possibilities generated through this fluid motion.


Jonathon Kirk     web site
Department of Music
North Central College
United States

Lee Weisert    
Department of Music
University of North Carolina
United States


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