Precipice | 2018 Comprised of weightless tones and bits of sonic dust, Precipice is a generative composition existing at the edge of perception. This piece utilizes six hyperdirectional speakers and custom software running on a single-board computer to create a highly spatial experience of sound that is nearly as absent as it is present.
Positioned approximately 10' from the ground, six hyperdirectional speakers are mounted to a CNC routed support structure via M4 fasteners using the VESA 100 mounting standard and then hung from six eyehooks. Each speaker utilizes an external power supply with a maximum load of 1.6A, and receives audio via an XLR cable.
The audio for the piece is generated using a BeagleBone Black single-board computer running custom software written in the SuperCollider scripting language / environment via the Bela platform. This computer is programmed to automatically to run the software immediately upon booting up.
The BeagleBone Black, Bela Cape and Bela Audio Expander Capelet are fitted in laser-cut enclosure with audio output connections for each pair of channels as well as an entrance for the barrel connector of an external 5V power supply with roughly a 350 mA draw. This enclosure is mounted atop the support structure, and all power is routed through a power strip.
In order to start the piece, the BeagleBone simply needs to receive power; the boot sequence takes approximately 30 seconds. To end the piece, it may simply be turned off. No direct interaction with the BeagleBone is necessary; turning on or off a circuit breaker or power strip is all that is required.
Precipice was premiered at the RISD Museum as part of the biennial RISD Faculty Exhibition and Forum from February 23 – March 25, 2018.