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Interactive Sound Installations

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Haley Garvis

on 28 March 2015

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Transcript of Interactive Sound Installations

Constructing Interactive Sound Sculptures in the Classroom
1. Intro to MakeyMakey device

2. Examples of Projects / Experiences
- Smithsonian Camp: "Sound and Sculpture Jam"
- "Interconnectivity Unit" at Binford Middle School

3. Tips/Troubleshooting and Questions

MaKeyMaKey (MIT Media Labs)
The MaKey MaKey device is a small circuit board that allows any conductive material to function as a keyboard button.

By connecting conductive
materials to the MaKey
MaKey board with alligator
clips and creating a
circuit, the computer will read
touches of those materials
as key presses or mouse clicks.
Conductive Materials
Metal, aluminum foil, copper tape, wire, coins

graphite pencil

Any material that contains water or salt is conductive, including:
fruit, plants, people, dirt, pets, trees, some clays (model magic, playdoh)

How to Connect MaKeyMakey
1. Plug USB on MakeyMakey into Computer
2. Open Program that uses arrow keys, mouse click, space bar, or letter keys: W A S D F G
3. Connect Alligator clip to Earth
4. Connect Alligator clip or wire to space for key on Makey
5. Connect your conductive materials to Alligator clips

Constructing Interactive Sound Sculptures in the Classroom
You must be touching "earth" in order to complete a closed circuit and "activate" a key. If you are not also touching "earth" when you touch other keys, it is not a complete circuit and will not function.

Smithsonian Institute Summer Camp - Washington, D.C.
"Sound and Sculpture Jam"

- 15 students, ages 11-13
- Week-long program, two
3-hour sessions each day

Intro Experience: Inventive Instruments
Examples of Unusual Instruments/Wearable Instruments:
Graphite Pencil
Introducing MakeyMakey to Students:
- Interactive Examples!
- How to connect to computer
- Open vs. Closed circuits
- Conductive vs. Non-conductive materials
Using graphite pencil, design 6 lines that will function as piano keys


- Connect to
"W, A, S, D, F, G"
keys on back of

Clay "Mixing Boards"
Using Soundation.com (free website), students can mix
their own beats, rhythms, and sound effects

Clay Mixing Board examples:
Inspiration: Elizabeth Murray

- Foamcore is conductive!
- If clay is left on cardboard overnight, the cardboard will absorb moisture and become conductive!

- PLASTIC plates are the best option!
- Make sure wires do not cross/touch underneath plates
- Make sure each "conductivity point" of play-doh is separated by modeling clay
SoundPlant.org - Free Download
- Can assign any sound file to any key by clicking and dragging

"Talking Communities"
A collaborative project in which students each build one building/area/space/aspect of a community.
Students choose one conductivity point to hook up to the MakeyMakey, and record a sound that will play when the point is touched.

Conductive Materials:
Wire, Aluminum Foil, Copper Tape
Student each recorded one sound using their voice and a microphone.

> Zoom Mics

> MP3 Recorder (Free App)

> recordmp3online.com

Clay Narratives

- Create three
objects or characters
and develop a story or
dialogue between the

- Record one sound for
each character.

Planning Worksheet

Students were required to:

- Write out their story

- Sketch each character

- Write "script" for each
character to read while recording

- Write why they were interested
in creating this specific narrative
Interactive Masks
Interconnectivity Unit
Binford Middle School, Richmond VA

Inclusive Classroom: general education students and exceptional education students
- 6th Grade
- 10 students total
- Four 70 minute classes
Final Product:
Each student created a "interconnectivity web" showing the relationship between science, math, art, and their own lives, which they graphed on a coordinate plane.
Day 1: Discussion of Interconnectivity

- What does it mean for two things to be connected? Interconnected?
- What people, places, and things are YOU interconnected with?
- How are math, science, art, and life interconnected?
- How are math, science, and art part of our everyday lives?

Day 2: Introduction to MakeyMakey

- Discussion about circuits + conductivity

- Experiments with conductivity:
- created hypotheses on whether the material would be conductive or non-conductive
- reflected on their reasoning
- recorded the results
Day 3

- Students glue their webs onto a Styrafoam mount and create a "conductivity point" with wire and model magic

- Students complete their "interconnectivity webs" by decorating all sides of their Styrafoam mount

- Students record one unique sound that will play when the conductivity point is touched
Day 4: Students install
their individual webs into
a collaborative installation

- Earth is aluminum foil
taped on table

My own introduction to MakeyMakey!

- CurrentLab: Research initiative focused on the development of digital arts education

- Video Game Controllers:
Using MakeyMakey within my own sculpture practice

Prompt: Create a colorful, abstract collage using play-doh and modeling clay. Play-doh will serve as "keys" on top of wire and modeling clay will serve as insulators.

Teacher Prep: Poke wire through plastic plates

Experiment Worksheet:

- What is a circuit?

- What is the "earth" in a circuit?

- What does it mean for a material to be "conductive"?


- provides a tool with which to combine traditional
art-making with creative technology

- an introduction to "interactive" art in which the viewer becomes an active participant

- an opportunity to talk about art that is not a static wall-hanging but a dynamic, kinetic exchange between individuals

- All alligator clips are securely fastened to the MakeyMakey and to the conductive materials

- Wires are not touching/crossing

- Base is not conductive (metal,
foamcore, or damp)

- Viewer is touching the Earth
to "activate" sound


- engages students in interdisciplinary learning

- allows students to be artists and designers, as
well as inventors, scientists, and technicians

- integrates art/design with science, technology,
engineering, and math - an opportunity for
STEAM projects


- currentlab.art.vcu.edu
(GameMaker, lesson plans)

- artinventionlab.com
(Meredith Cosier website)

- hgarvis.wix.com/haleygarvis
(Interconnectivity lesson plan)
Sound Resources:

- virtualpiano.net

- soundation.com

- soundplant.org
How to purchase MakeyMakey:

< Video >
**Graphite lines must be drawn thick enough for current to pass through**
Full transcript