My Pretty Bird circuit is about to fly to China and get bigger.
I just realized that I neglected to post this video to my blog…
Here are six transparent pepakura-style songbirds, each containing a unique, analog electronic sound generator. The birds are linked by rainbow cables to a breadboarded computer (i.e, “bird brain”) that uses shift registers, astable multivibrators, and transistor switches to achieve a pseudorandom sequence… so the bird’s songs don’t sound repetitive, of course. I’m chasing after the mysteries of life —the spark of life. Eventually these little fellows will perch in a sculpture called “Birds at My Feeder,” (2019).
My transparent birds invite you to contemplate the electricity that flows through their being. The visible electronics are all discrete hardware — analog electronic sound generators that vibrate to sing a song (refer to the video in this post). There are no recordings or software involved in the making of the song, only an oscillating electronic circuit. To quote @melissadelzio regarding Shipibo-Conibo philosophy, “Existence is essentially comprised of vibrations, encapsulating the connection between the energetic and material worlds and expressing the link between light and sound.”
I have spent the past five months working on a sculpture that required some serious engineering on my part, a task that I managed to accomplish by hyper-focusing and pushing myself through many days at my electronics bench. Meanwhile, my lack of energy to make art with my spiritual and physical self has been injurious. A new friend thankfully reminded me that I need these other facets of myself if I am to survive. Suddenly, I regained attention for the magical objects that I keep on display above my electronics workspace. These protectors and power objects became visible to me again after a blindness that I self-inflicted with my own mental intensity. It’s amazing how a shift in consciousness can instantly remove the wool from our eyes — the most dangerous form of blindness is not an optical condition, but a compromised state of mind.
I wish that hardcore stunts of engineering were possible (for me) without a serious bias for thinking (instead of feeling), but that’s just not the case… not yet. I need more practice in order to achieve a greater virtuosity and grace, but that’s the work of a lifetime I suppose. Anyway, now, as I approach the end of my latest intellectual challenge, I’m grateful that a restoration of balance is on my horizon.
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.