Date: January 11, 2012
Simran Gleason —

The Haunted Garden is a sonic environment that participants control by their mere presence. It is a room that listens to the notes in your voice and uses them to compose music and change the color of the room. As the project progressed, further opportunities for control were implemented. An interactive kiosk gives users the ability to choose instruments and control sensitivity and reactivity parameters. The next step was to insert audio from other times and places by playing field recordings (e.g., baby yaks in Tibet, the 8-line in San Francisco), allowing the Haunted Garden to actively respond to the augmented sonic environments.

Simran will discuss the challenges of designing with sound, and how he developed “listening agents” who react and comment on sound in the environment. He will relate experiences—both as software developer and sound artist—and explore sound as a medium. Topics will include what is sound sculpture, what challenges were uncovered in creating it, whether the experience worked according to plan, the challenges in developing applications for these sorts of interactions, the unforeseen consequences resulting from initial forays into these kinds of devices, and how an interface based on sound might change how we relate to sound and sonic devices.

About the Speaker
Simran Gleason is an artist and professional nerd. He started drawing the day after getting a master’s degree in computer science (symbolic and heuristic computation) from Stanford and drifted through many media before arriving at his current focus: making algorithms that make music. Among his more successful installations is Haunted Garden, a room that listens to you, finds the notes in your conversation, and uses them to compose an ambient sound and lightscape. He also did the generative music and light algorithms for SWARM, a gaggle of open source someday-autonomous spherical robots. His work has been shown in galleries in San Francisco and Palo Alto, as well as installations at Maker Fair, Yuri’s Night, Coachella, and the special olympics of art: Burning Man. Kepler’s Orrery is his first iPhone app.

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Designing Experience with Sound from CHIFOO Communications on Vimeo.