Documentation recording edit (listen with headphones).

Since this summer, I have come back to Writing…, with a proposal to exhibit a new configuration in autumn. While the development and production is in progress, I will have little time to spend on the RC documentation, so for now this is just a basic page, and a link to the software repository, which also contains various fabrication files, making the entire building process transparent.

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Writing (suspend)

On the Fourth Instance

2023 in the framework of Simultaneous Arrivals, exhibited at <rotor> as part of  Like an open door leading us where we would never have consented to go.

Taking down the development setup at Reagenz, packing the parts, transporting and setting them up again at <rotor>, worked relatively smooth and relatively quick (two days taking down, two days setting up, and another day or so to tune). The suspension length had been calculated correctly, so now the dishes hang at the approximate ear level of an adult. The diametre is good for comfortably walking around, and the side light projects a beautiful shadow of the circle. I had wished the green tinted gels had fully remained on the windows, but I guess due to the group exhibition situation, the left window (not pictured) was returned to uncoloured form. The electronics hanging now much higher, “out of reach” are nice. People tend to want to enter the circle's inner part, although I told staff that they should not; one, for the sake of the safety of the fragile work, two for the sake of not creating an immersive situation but forcing the visitors to still walk around the work.

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The suspension of the Petri dishes is from thin brown iron wires whose materiality I have been exploring since building the Rogues last year. They fascinate me, they are very thin, yet they resist to being entirely straight. The weight of the glass is just enough to draw the lines. Copper wires are an identifying element in Writing (…), and here they curl around the iron wires, creating a sort of tiger mosquito texture.

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The third reconfiguration, Writing (simultan), introduced mechanical relays to move the phrase around the circles. In schwärmen + vernetzen, I first used those relays and fell in love with their tiny clicking sound. Already some years ago, a friend told me to look into solid state relays as cheaper and more reliable relays, so I eventually came back to investigating them as a means to make many channel switches. Their use is not entirely straight forward, as they exhibit leaking current and a remaining resistance when open, so you have to find specific SSR that work well with passing or blocking the amplified sound signal to piezo buzzers. In the end, while it works, it is also not particularly cheap, and you loose that fabulous clicking sound, so I abandoned this idea.

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Another possibility I explored was the use of a servo motor to turn a mechanical switching dial around. The dials I found could operate until around twelve positions, so I would have needed to use multiple of these constructions. While it is a fascinating idea, it is also very impractical. The switching dials are made for manual use, requiring a strong force to turn them from one position to the next. The servo would have quite a job to move them (although it was experimentally verified that the principle works), and I would have to calibrate it carefully and turn its PWM off after each turn to avoid that it would keep moving into an impossible angle. Overall, it was also a relatively expensive solution to switch channels, certainly more complicated than chaining many mechanical relays.

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I decided to try to go back to the setup of the first Writing Machine, with individually amplified channels. Only now, twelve years had passed, and it would be much easier to produce the number of desired channels. In the Rogues, I had already used quite inexpensive digital amplifier circuit boards, but now I wanted to amplify 24 channels, so the boards would have to be very cheap.

I think I ordered in total five or more models, some monophonic, some stereophonic, where the price per channel came down to around 2 to 3 EUR. I compared them in terms of the clarity of sound, amount of noise and distortion, and their overall capacity to produce a strong enough signal on the piezo discs.

I knew from the original piece, that transformer coils made for 100V amplification would help to match the high impedance of the piezos with the low impedance of the amplifiers, and indeed this worked well again. But now I would also have to get hold of many of those coils, and it turned out they are quite expensive in themselves. In the end it was more feasible to do without the coils but get a slightly stronger amplifier. The one I ended up with is the third depicted here, based on the Texas Instruments TPA3110 chip.

The circuit board design, offered basically identical by various different vendors, sports a prominent light blue heat sink, which will eventually be visible in the installation.

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four per continent:
- North America
   - [X] male   : (OK) Ixcatec
   - [X] male   : (OK) Arapaho
   - [X] female : (OK) Zoque
   - [X] female : (OK) Cahuilla
- South America
   - [X] male   : (OK) Tinigua
   - [X] male   : (OK) E’ñapa Woromaipu
   - [X] female : (OK) Suruí
   - [X] female : (OK) Nivaklé
- Africa
   - [X] male   : (OK) Gbanzili-Bôlaka
   - [X] male   : (OK) N|uu ( NOT: Shekgalagadi )
   - [X] female : (OK) Kujireray
   - [X] female : (OK) Shangaji
- Europe
   - [X] female : (OK) Jewish Iraqi
   - [X] female : (OK) Kholosi
   - [X] female : (OK) Zok (Armenian dialect)
   - [X] female : (OK) Pite (Saami)
- Asia
   - [X] male   : (OK) Saaroa
   - [X] male   : (OK) Tai-Khamyang
   - [X] female : (OK) Arta
   - [X] female : (OK) Gelao
   - [ ] male   : (OK) Dhao
- Australia
   - [X] male   : (OK) Lopit (apr10_1_HM_Lopit_lg_session-3_20100410 or apr9_squirrel_LOP)
   - [ ] male   :
   - [X] female : (OK) Ngaatjatjarra (WDVA1-TJU_05-FINAL.mp4)
   - [X] female : (OK) Manyjilyjarra (WDVA1-MIR_28-FINAL.mp4)

In the middle of September, I had the first channel made up of two piezos / Petri dishes hanging, and tried a direct playback of some of the source sound materials, recordings from he Endangered Languages Archive (elar).

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