Audio Electronics at Senate House Library

Leverhulme Trust Sound Art Residency 2016 - Artistic Achievements /  Artist's participation in the life of the Library

Hardware Audio Devices

built through the residency

Senate House Library Fragmented

with touchscreen controller and a dual channel light-dependent Mixer
The Touchscreen Controller - images above buttons replaced with SHL thumbnails

Representing Building Work at Senate House – the sound of Program Beveridge

Granular Synthesizer

Granular Synthesizer - unboxed for display

Wierd Sound Generator

with added filter and delay, mounted in an old BBC computer interface


Granular Synthesizer prototype- inspired by the building work at Senate House
Granular Synthesizer burnt to the Atmega 328P processor with Arduino bootloader


Two motion activated sensors with barometric sensors to detect upward and downward lift motion with numerical display

Mini installations have been developed  over the weekly open studios to encourage visitors to engage with the sound project, creating a mix using Senate House Library Fragmented, playing the building, with sounds mapped to the keys of an external midi controller keyboard, with the MIDI Sampler, with two sets of sounds, tonal (based on room size resonant frequencies) and percussive (the dominant sounds of a working library). A gestural controller to move the sounds through the soundfield made into the adapted bow controller prototype, mounted for the adapted violin in the final performance 'Hacking The Silence'. The Granular Synthesizer and Wierd Sound Generator are bespoke synths, made at home, inspired by the building work at Senate House Library; used in the residency project, to enhance the sonification of the building work, supporting the audio recordings. Finally, the construction of the two elements of the Memory Hole Machine, a tape punch puncher and optical reader connected to a computer voice to output the messages.

In order to encourage access to the audio archive produced over the year, Library staff will be presented with an interactive electronic audio book, using conductive paint and embedded controllers, controlled by a Teensy 3.2 with audio shield, to house a redux version of the complete archive on a 32GB SD card. They can access sounds with sound effects that enhance the changing acoustics around the space, the resonant frequencies, reverberation and delays of each space, that have been calculated, caused by the diverse building materials and room content in the original design and added within the listed features, to house the evolving technology. Travertine marble and Portland stone, grey cornish granite in the horizontal base, with carpetted, cork and teak floors, woven fabric, coffered plastered ceilings, as acoustic treatement, bronze grills for heating and air conditioning, South American Cypress, English Walnut, cabot quilting, natural English Oak, stove enamalled steel book stacks, up the concrete decks of the stack; with the sounds mapped from vibrations picked up from the vibration sensors mounted on the walls. The Physical sounds are accessible beneath the library building plans and a selection from the Memory Hole Machine archive accessible from a line of buttons on the backpage, behind the building plans. Controllers set below the pages, are highlighted on the top page for easy access.

Motion Activated Audio Players

- used in Shakespeare, Night At The Library, The Memory Hole Machine Installation Exhibit at Being Human and in Hacking The Silence movements 3 and 4

Motion-activated audio player with motion activation and proximity sensors
Elsinore Audio - Shakespeare Exhibition Membership Hall Senate House Library 4th Floor Senate House


Adapted Violin Bow - accelerometer x (pitch) y (role) z (plane)

Midi Sampler

Sounds of the library mapped up the keys of an external MIDI control keyboard

MIDI keyboard - with selectable Octaves each with a different category of sounds (doors, trolleys, lifts etc.)

Interactive Electronic Audio book

Controllers mounted on a panel behind the Library building plans, overlaid with conductive paint - accessing the relevant sound with the area of the library where it was recorded with effects based on the acoustic characteristics of the building.

Fourth Floor
Conductive paint, teensy with a selection of sensors


The sensors are mounted below the relevant part of the building plans triggering audio files and controlling sound parameters mapped to the acoustic measurements of each part of the building

Finally – the Memory Hole Machine –  Coding Machine and Optical Reader with speech output

– saved to the Senate House Library Audio Archive category 'Being Human Being Human' in 2016 –



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