Umbraphone is a bank of photoresistors washed in high-intensity light that trigger sound. It’s a musical instrument that is played with shadow.

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V 1.0 was simple a midi controller, triggering a bank of sounds from Garageband. Created during MediaNet’s Video Lab program at Open Space.

V 2.0 uses Max, with the sound diffused through a 4-channel surround sound system. The sounds slowly evolve, based on the number of triggers, from large geologic happenings (explosions, wind, rain, waves) through lighter environmental sounds (insects, birds, small animals, large animals) to human voices, machinery, to a final explosion. The result is a human interpretation of the natural history of earth, played through the use of shadow. Umbraphone V2.0 was installed at the Victoria Convention Centre for TEDx Victoria.

Created by Scott Amos and David Parfit.


2 comments on this post.
  1. Jared:

    Cool man! I was just looking at something similar this morning –
    He was mentioned in an article here

    Hope your well!

  2. scott:

    Cool, thanks for the links. I can’t believe he made that in the eighties. So much easier these days…
    Are you back on the island? I was thinking about doing a 16mm film camp during a long weekend this summer. B&W neg and reversal processing, tinting/toning, photograms etc. You interested?

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