Technology Imitates Nature I: rainfall

Wondering away with our smartphones, tablets, and what not, we tend to forget the beauty of our surroundings. While in transit listening to our favourite pop stars and searching the web to find the latest news, we disconnect ourselves from the outside world.

Not only have we forgotten the ways of nature, even the technology that took its place solely has a users function: people don’t understand the technology they are using. When broken, our machines won’t be repaired but will be replaced by newer models. In a world were we cannot understand nature nor the technology that took its place, Kunrad is trying to find a way to make us more aware of ourselves and the world that surrounds us.

In his graduation year at the HKU University of the Arts Utrecht Kunrad has started a research on the sonification of weather phenomena, in particular the different types of precipitation. This journey has resulted in his first work in line: Technology Imitates Nature I: rainfall.

The devices presented used to be part of our daily lives. Thrown away by our society they lost their purposes, being treated as disposable goods. Trough his fascination of electronics and mechanics, Kunrad has altered the machines into intriguing instruments and lets them interact with each other. It works as follows: a small low-voltage pulse is being triggered by a relay. The pulse passes across the equalizer and then to the speaker, which creates a short ticking sound. That’s not all: the output of the equalizer is routed back as the input of the equalizer, thus creating a feedback loop. In between, Kunrad has placed a variable resistor to control the amount of feedback. Every time the pulse passes trough the equalizer, the characteristics of the timbre – created by the settings of the equalizer – are amplified until the listener eventually hears a tone. By varying the pulse width and other parameters a playful, yet gentle, sound palette is created

The sound palette resembles Kunrad's artistic view on rainfall: the perceiving tendency to find patterns in the tapping sound the rain creates. Please explore the work and let your curiosity be awakened.

Listen to | Kunrad . Technology Imitates Nature I: rainfall (audio)

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