BeAsPacificAsPossible::26

 2016  -  {John Kammerer, OK Keyes}

BeAsPacificAsPossible::26 is an ecoacoustic audio-visual installation work created in collaboration with video artist OK Keyes. It was first installed at Tapp's Arts Center in Columbia, SC from 1.5.17 - 2.2.17.

An immersive representation of the current meteorological and oceanographic conditions across the Pacific Ocean, BAPAP::26 uses data polled in real-time from National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) buoys to drive 17 sound-producing sinusoidal oscillators and 9 modulating sinusoidal oscillators and audio-reactive projections.

The result is transmitted in 17-channel audio via speaker drivers affixed to a large geodesic dome. Visitors are encouraged to enter the dome to explore the sonic environments within. 

Buoy 46005, located at 45.958 N  131.000 W, near Brown Bear Seamount, 300 nautical miles west of Aberdeen, WA. Parameters from this buoy are used to determine the pitch of one oscillator (avg. wave period), the length of one reverb (wave direction), and the rate of sine oscillator modulating a continuously variable delay time (wind direction).

Buoy 46005, located at 45.958 N  131.000 W, near Brown Bear Seamount, 300 nautical miles west of Aberdeen, WA. Parameters from this buoy are used to determine the pitch of one oscillator (avg. wave period), the length of one reverb (wave direction), and the rate of sine oscillator modulating a continuously variable delay time (wind direction).

Details

BeAsPacificAsPossible::26 is an audio-visual installation piece created primarily within the visual programming environment Max/MSP. It uses data collected in real-time from National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) buoys to modulate various audio parameters and sinusoidal oscillators.

The NOAA updates data collected from sensors on these buoys in real-time, most often hourly or every 6-10 minutes. The Max/MSP patch regularly polls the individual data collections at 260 second intervals (one new buoy every 10 seconds) and scans for changes in oceanographic and atmospheric conditions. This data is used to drive 26 sinusoidal oscillators (either sound-producing carriers or modulators), determine effect and envelope parameters/triggers, gain levels, spatialization, and more. 

The most obvious example of the ocean's effect can be found within the slowly oscillating tones that make up the constant ambient pad. Average wave frequencies are scaled to bring their frequency into the range of human hearing and are then used to determine the pitch of these tones. The slow oscillation of these tones fading in and out are determined by raw average wave frequency, presenting the listener with an accurate temporal impression of wave frequency. 

A theme of 26 runs through this piece: 26 buoys located throughout the Pacific Ocean, selected 26 hours before the last moments of my 26th year. 26 sinusoidal oscillators. Created with thought to two names consisting of 26 letters, crafted from the 26 English alphanumeric characters.

Parameters used include the following:

  • Wind Direction (measured in degrees clockwise from true North)
  • Wind Speed (meters/sec)
  • Gust (peak 5-8 second gust speed for sampling period)
  • Wave Height (average of the highest 1/3 of waves measured during sampling period)
  • Dominant Wave Period (maximum wave energy during sampling period)
  • Average Wave Period
  • Wave Direction (measured in degrees clockwise from true North)
  • Sea Pressure Level 
  • Air Temperature (Celsius)
  • Surface Water Temperature (Celsius)
  • Dew point Temperature (Celsius)
  • Visibility (measured in nautical miles)