Nina Limardo, Mres Digital Media student, aims to recreate dining experiences through soundscapes created by an interactive dinner plate.
This installation was exhibited at Culture Lab, Newcastle University on 12 January, 2012.
For those of you interested in how to create something similar for your own project, here is the documentation, which includes the coding which I have provided as a .zipped file you can download by clicking this: DinnerDuJour. Enjoy!
The plate works by triggered by the following states: (1) tilt left side 90 degrees downward (2) tilt the back right corner 90 degrees (3) lift plate and move from right to left. Each trigger has five different possible .wav files which can be triggered on a random shuffle. Therefore, no one experience with the plate will ever be the same, just like you can never cook the same meal exactly the same.
Figure 1 is a flowchart which outlines the hardware and programming implemented in the creation of Dinner Du Jour. I have also included my code in Figure 2, 3.1, and 3.2 which can be seen below for further clarity. This installation is the first of many artistic experiments I plan to create in my exploration of the possible intersections between sound and food. This being my first installation, most of my time was spent creating the technological aspects of my piece; namely programming.
Although I have never worked with hardware before, I found working with Arduino, an open source micro-controller, quite simple and exciting. Therefore, the hardware components and Arduino coding were surprisingly simple for me. However, coding in Pure Data was complicated considering I had never used it before and I had never done object oriented programming either. However, after a few arduous days of knocking my head against a wall, I awoke with a newfound clarity and I was able to finally finish coding (see Figures 3.1 and 3.2).
The sounds I used were all related to the production and consumption of food and I obtained them at freesound.org, an open source website. I used Audacity to cut sections of ten seconds from each .wav file. I did this to ensure complementary mixing of sounds. Once all of the sound files were programmed as abstractions in pd (see figure 3.2), I tested everything to make sure it works as expected. I was especially charmed that it was working as well as I hoped and created finishing touches for my installation in the form of a menu which included instructions for the audience, a plate which was mounted on a white box in which the Arduino with the accelerometer was placed, a table, and a tablecloth.
Note: Abstractions work like functions which you can call in the parent code.
All in all, the installation worked exactly as I expected it would, which is a God send when working with technology. I intend to continue working with food in sound in live performance. Perhaps I will use the plate design as a live performer within these live performances, as I would an actor.