“LITE2SOUND is a portable sensing device that explores the hidden sounds of light. Not a synthesizer at all, it is more like a microphone. LITE2SOUND reveals unusual sounds by responding to rapid but invisible changes in brightness. Beyond the ubiquitous grid hum transmitted by lighting, there are many other sounds. Near video screens, one often finds a clear pitched tone with variations depending on what model it is or even reacting to changes in the visual picture on a CRT. LED alpanumeric displays in metro rail cars create a blend of sharp singing tones, an optical consequence of lines of code executed by microprocessors. In technology- saturated spaces, musical chords hang in the air as ambient sources harmonize together. Serendipity rewards the curious with soundscapes that weren’t intended to be heard. Even nature creates content for LITE2SOUND’s reception, if one looks in the right places.

The signal level can vary from mic level to line level depending on what you’re observing, and how strongly the light source is modulated. You can’t usually judge this with your eyes; some light sources appear bright but aren’t modulated deeply. Other sources can appear dim or dark but are strongly modulated, such as infrared remotes and LED message signs. Other lights are bright but not modulated at all, like status LEDs on some electronic devices, and any LED running on DC power.” (Eric Archer)

LITE2SOUND was created by Eric Archer (http://www.ericarcher.net) and has been redesigned by him for the purpose of this workshop. The LITE2SOUND PX features a headphone/line out jack, a slider volume control and automatic gain control to compensate for different levels of ambient light.

In this workshop, the participants will each build a LITE2SOUND PX. The kit consists of a PCB and roughly 40 parts. Expected time to build the device is 1-2 hours. Basic soldering skills are helpful, but a quick introduction to soldering will be provided at the start of the workshop. After the build, we explore the sounds of different light sources, both inside and outside. Participants should each bring a pair of headphones for this purpose. We may also give a concert in the evening, where the participants perform on stage to create a sonic landscape from available light sources.

The workshop will be hosted by Hans Kristian Senneseth and is suitable for 10-12 participants. LITE2SOUND photos and schematics are provided courtesy of Eric Archer for educational and noncommercial purposes only.

The workshop is supported by the Municipality of Bergen.