Fascinated by overdimensioned technology and its grotesque forms of use, I bought a pair of Bass Shakers during a visit in New York. These are powerful bass loudspeakers that usually get mounted onto a car chassis in order to set the vehicle in vibration. In this manner, the entire automobil becomes a sound source. The mentioned transducers are used in car tuning communities, who became a popular exponent with the MTV series “Pimp my Ride”. It’s specialty is the change of old, unattractive cars with a looser image to impressive, stylish, multifunctional and respected mobiles. This way, it accomplishes a broadcasted charging of car culture, culminating in an artistic assembly of western consumer society symbols. Prominence of this art and craft, is given to the staged impact of the unrecognisable automobile. Thus converting its owner from a looser to a heavily armed show-off.
How “Paint My Bass” works:
Given that the Shakers are connected to a sound source and left unattached on the ground, they will vibrate and move in varying directions and patterns according to frequency, amplitude and rhythm of the music played. With a minimal setup, an autonomous mobile object evolves. One that was not planned to be auto - mobile. Via a contrapuntual détournement, it raises the question regarding alternative energy and alternative mobility devices. It is driven by its main purpose: the transduction of electronic signals into pressure waves. In theory, the direction of movement could be controlled radial by shifting the phase of a sinewave. This procedure can harm the speaker and is hard to realise. Therefore I aimed for a simpler way to influence the direction of movement. A motor controlled rotary arm, attached on the speaker gives weight and the tendency to move to the other direction. Painting and Drawing supplies can be attached on the arm, resulting in a purely analog visualisation of music. As the audio and control cable cannot be infinitely long, a physical frame needs to be set up. With switches attached around the shaker, it detects contact with the frame, lifts the brush and moves the arm to where the contact has been made.
In this project, I am interested in the visualisation of music. The combination of sound and music is not at all a new topic. But during the last couple of years, a wide range of music visualisation and vj software for artistic and commercial use disseminated. Music TV stations dedicated to the audiovisual aesthetics are inseperable of an urban landscape. It seems to be a characteristic of mankind to combine adio and visual sensations in order to construct a sensible world. Leading to dramatic moments in a synchronised media experience. Synchronicity plays an important role in aforementioned software and TV as in many other time based media. “Paint My Bass” is a counterpoint in this regard, as its movements cannot be deviated 1:1 from the music. The complexity of audio signals do not allow an exact control. The music inherent self-will can be tamed by human influence. A game analog to the improvised play of music evolves. Music becomes a driving force. We are used to music generating motors but not music that becomes gas for a motor.