pretty bird

Pretty Bird ver. CC 2019 by kelly heaton

Here it is at last: my edition of 150 printed circuit boards and associated components, “Pretty Bird ver. CC,” 2019. This multiple was commissioned by Creative Capital for their 20th summer retreat celebration. I designed the artistic circuit using discrete hardware to generate waveforms from a 12 volt DC power supply, visible as blinking LEDs and audible through an 8 ohm speaker. Under the right lighting conditions, the sound is reminiscent of “pretty bird,” a song of the Carolia wren. There are no audio recordings or software algorithms involved in this effect — it’s entirely analog electronic. In the upper left corner of the circuit is a light-dependent resistor that affects the frequency of a negator oscillator, as I demonstrate in the video by changing the ambient light. It’s fascinating to me that a small quantity of common transistors, resistors, capacitors, and diodes can create vibrations that are so life-like. Similarity or simulacrum? The spark of life.

Pretty Bird ver.CC 2019 test run by kelly heaton

My first run of boards came in this week. I am pleased to report that the circuit works as intended (sings an analog electronic song). I’ll post video of that soon, but for now, some photos of the pretty board. I used gold-plated copper and solder mask to achieve a watermark effect, as you can see in some of these pictures. These boards (along with components to solder) will be given to attendees at Creative Capital’s 2019 retreat in June.

Pretty bird process by kelly heaton

Various images from the process to design a pretty bird printed circuit board for manufacture. April, 2019

Electrical naturalism by kelly heaton

Detail of a work in-progress from a new print series on electrical naturalism, 2019. The circuit on the electronic wren sings “pretty bird” when the lighting is favorable. The antique illustrated bird is an Audubon print.

det_circuit songbirds_KHeaton.jpg

Pretty bird by kelly heaton

A sculptural bird circuit that sings “pretty bird” when the ambient light conditions are favorable. The exterior is folded Mylar and the interior is an analog electronic chirp generator soldered freeform. This part is part of a larger work in progress.

Above: images of the freeform chirping circuit (stabilized to Mylar using glue) prior to insertion into the bird’s body.