Open Studios - reflections

Open Studios

Every Wednesday from 17th February – 7th December 10.00 -18.00

In the Library Membership Hall, glass panels and a glass door have been erected to create a secure space, with the words 'The Shop' embossed proudly over the door, a ‘post-truth’ 'post-modern' shop selling ideas not merchandise.

Setting Up Shop

Initially much time was taken up furnishing 'The Shop' for Open Studios for internal and external visitors, working with our designer to create the publicity images, branding the residency, with a handmade book sourced for the residency visitors book, setting up the display cases and the sound. Holden furniture was brought in from the store, through Estates and glass display cabinets were setup, outward facing through the glass façade. The cabinets were used to display hardware and the technology used by the artist, grouped into categories used in DIY audio electronics and labeled. Gradually items were replaced with completed devices as they were built. The cabinets were also used to promote ongoing activity and the final installation was displayed through each stage of development. After the June event a matrix display was brought in to promote the Listening Chair positioned outside the Shop with headphones.

Dont forget to sign the Visitors Book


Display Case version 1


Open Studio Mixes

Mixes were developed over the weeks as the amount of audio increased and control structures developed, output on the main Open Studio speakers via Bluetooth. These can be divided into:

  • Those culminating in the June performance, playing with layered perspectives of the building soundscape, listening from both within and outside of, it simultaneously, juxtaposing the listeners’ location in relation to the sound field.


  • The mid-term set of mixes as summer content was added, together with operative recordings of the systems upon which the library depends from 1937, represented by recordings of the listed boiler room (still heating Warberg and Birbeck) and the technology of today, in recordings of the final manual tape backup and recordings of the ULCC server rooms. An example of the Open Studio mixes were used as the basis for the live mix on air, in the Wavelength radio show (14th October).
  • A final multichannel development stage, culminating in a quadraphonic soundscape for the final performance with a binaural studio mix to represent the spatial audio in the room for headphones.


Digital Musical Instrument Development with analog controllers

A second pair of speakers was used, connected to software in use by the artist, to work on ongoing developments through the Open Studios:

  • Modules designed for external controllers (with midi and serial comms)
  • Samples to upload to external devices:
    • Four tracks over a stereo output, required for Senate House Fragmented
    • Orwellian and percussive samples for motion-activated devices, with discrete speakers, connected via long audio leads, to subvert the spatial audio image, within an immersive soundscape.
    • The development of Granular Samplers mixing Granular Synthesis, Pulsar synthesis and convolution, all with MIDI control in Super Collider and Max/MSP.

External MIDI communication was added with prototypes controlled with an external keyboard, mapped to the sound parameters, for gestural controllers first in Logic then via MaxMSP and Super Collider. The keyboard could then be also replaced with gestural controllers. The second control strategy was real-time interactivity using live coding in Super Collider combined with automation programmed through algorithmic composition. These techniques used changing patterns in the data from the environmental sensors and metadata from the library.

Hardware Development

  • An 8-bit granular synthesizer with a sound that emulates the noise from the building sites, Auduino Granulator.
auduino: the brains of 8-bit Granular Synthesis
Auduino on Display - with 7 rotary controllers



  • Senate House Fragmented – an interactive sound device, with a touchscreen control panel to select from four tracks and gestural controllers with two light dependent resistors, mapping light differentials to amplitude, between the left and right channels, for touch-free panning control.
  • Midi controlled sampler, percussive sounds of the library were mapped to a MIDI keyboard with 6 knobs programmed to control a range of sound parameters, including the microsound parameters of Granular Synthesis in Granular Sampling.
  • A gestural controller, using a microcontroller, with an accelerometer with 6-degrees of freedom, to move the sound through space, attached to a violin bow
  • The adaptations required for a mechanical solenoid Tape Punch puncher, via a computer keyboard over serial, with a microcontroller to drive the stepper the motor and for the RS232 serial protocol to send the data in ASCII to the tape puncher.
  • Adapting an Optical Tape Punch Reader, using RS232 serial to connect to the reader to transmit the data to a talki-library in Processing and to control the Start Stop buttons on the reader. The reading mechanism was mounted in an old cassette deck box.

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