Voiceprints

Voiceprints is an interactive audio visual installation. A person speaks into a microphone, their voice is analysed for frequency content, and then a number of small similar textile patterns are re-arranged in an abstract representation of the person’s vocal frequency print. These patterns are either projected onto a surface or displayed on a large screen and eventually turn translucent and then fade away. The person’s voice becomes a playful and intuitive interface to the visual display.

In human speech the basic acoustic unit is called a phoneme. The visual equivalent is called a “viseme”, a basic speech unit in the visual domain, in other words a facial expression that can be used to describe a particular sound. Using this analogy, I have written a piece of software which describes sound using basic visual units to represent recorded frequencies.

My inspiration for a basic visual unit came to me while staring at a wall where I had hung up three Japanese fabrics covered with repeating iconic motifs. Here was an already established set of visual patterns comprised of small repeating elements.

These textile motifs seem appropriate for use in a computer artwork as they are already tiled in a networked, matrix fashion and their morphology resembles miniaturised automata. Woven textiles form part of computing history, through Joseph Marie Jacquard’s automated patterned textile weaving machine in 1804 which led to punch cards in computing devices.

Check out the Voiceprints project page here.