Owl Project is a collaborative group of Manchester based artists who share interests in human interaction with technology and process led art. Over the last few years they have become known for a distinctive range of wooden musical and sculptural instruments that critique human interaction with computer interfaces and our increasing appetite for new and often disposable technologies.
While the idea of the hardware alone is already nice, I was wondering how that instruments sound. As you can decide by yourself (I inserted the videos from the owl website right to this posting) - there are some people that are fascinated after seeing the creators (Simon Blackmore, Antony Hall and Steve Symons) perform.
"Admittedly I just didnt “get it” at first. From a solely audio perspective, the sounds produced didn’t appeal to me. It seemed like a near random collection of sounds, which although generated in a unique and unusual way didn’t have any meaning.
However, when they performed live infront of us my opinion changed. It turned from being a video on the screen to a entertaining engaging show, in which the performers were totally immersed. Perhaps the process of making the sounds is more important than the sound itself." (pixel-junkie.com)
While this seems to be a new and nice idea at first, lots of people I know doing DIY technology end up creating wooden cases to hold their prototypes. The main difference might be that owlproject uses wood for their finished products. Makes me remember my old synthesizers with wooden panels.
The following information is compiled from the owlproject website just to give you an overview of the instruments they have.
Log1k Definition 2001
The Log1k is a sequencer & sampler, which also contains; Signal generators and other noise making devices.It has several, Mic inputs and 8 Audio outputs. It requires around 24 AA batteries. A mains 240v Fluorescent tube provides a screen like glowing panel which also provides electrical interference. The Log1K is defined by being constructed from a fully circle log section. This is divided into two half's and hinged at one side; thus giving it a laptop like appearance.
Log 1k - Operating systems.
Badger 2001, Squirrel 2002, Stoat 2003.
The Log1K was removed from operation after damaging several sound systems and catching speakers on fire.
It's the latest development in Owl Project technology; a powered USB controller interface. Like the iLog, the m-Log fits in the palm of your hand and is made using a semicircular cross-section of a branch. Personalise yours with switches, wooden knobs and an accelerometer. The m-Log has plug and play compatibility with a wide variety of applications, notably MAX MSP and SuperCollider.
Want an m-Log?
Get your saw and soldering iron ready. Either make it yourself with the full kit, or come to the next m-Log workshop! The Owl Project will guide you through building and using your new m-Log. (you can contact them via email or phone. go to the owlproject website for more information)
ILog Definition 2008
The iLog is a stand alone noise generator. It is powered and outputs an audio signal.
The iLog should fit in the palm of the hand and is normally made using this semicircular cross section of a branch. At its base is the power socket and at its top is the audio out put.
Maybe you’ve got thousands of Logs in your pile. Maybe you have just a few. Maybe you like creating noise on the go. Maybe you just wanna grab a log and run. No matter where or what you want to do, there’s an iLog made for you.
Metro - Beat generator (2001)
Signal - Tone generator (2003)
Rustle - Voice sampler (2005)
Photo-synthiser - AM detector (2007)
Modulator - Effects & feedback (2008)
Sound Lathe is a new piece of work by the Owl Project that explores of the sonic properties of woodwork.The Sound Lathe produces audio data, saw dust, noise and wood chippings. With this human powered machine, turned spindles are shaped into complex sounds such as tones, glitches and beats..
Unlike many electronic instruments, the Sound Lathe produces a unique wooden object at the end of each performance. This object serves as a memory of the performance, slightly faulty and incomplete as it represents the conclusion rather than an accurate recording of the process.
Checking out the owl project website is highly recommended. Besides the videos and pictures I already embedded here, there is a lot more of information available on their projects - and maybe you want to build your own wooden-electronic instruments?
This post was written by nanofunk on November 20, 2009 and last edited on November 24, 2009
Post categories: diy, experimental, hardware, instruments, interfaces, prototyping, video
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