Channelisation of Noise through a Rhythmic Grid: Brutalist Mechatronic Sound-sculpture
The aim of this thesis is to provide accessibility and appreciation for sounds that are conventionally perceived as non-musical or “noise”. Ordering the noise on a grid of metric rhythms, and underlining its materiality through an audiovisual mode of expression are the two main strategies employed. Using the medium of mechatronics, mechanically generated sonic by-products of technological developments are chosen as the focus sonic material. As a result, the output of this research extends what is known as glitch music outside the territory of amplified sound, to a realm where noise is created physically and acoustically. Based on these objectives, and following an investigation on the use of mechatronics in contemporary sound-based art, an ensemble of mechatronic sound-sculptures is designed and developed. Varying in terms of material, sound-generating mechanism, and sonic quality, the ensemble is divided into three different instrument-types, each of which is introduced, thoroughly described, and sonically evaluated. Next, three new audiovisual works are developed and realised utilising the mechatronic sound-sculptures, in order to turn into practice the ideas explored in this research. These compositions – which are all exhibited in competitive international symposiums – undertake the integration of mechatronics in three areas of sonic arts that are interconnected with the sound-sculptures. Furthermore, this thesis also establishes an aesthetic framework that formalises a significant body of contemporary sound art and music that, prior to this work, had suffered academic inattention. Probing the various parallels between the ideas developed in this thesis and Brutalist architecture, ‘sound-based brutalism’ is coined and formulated as an aesthetic underpinning for not only the academically marginalised works discussed, but also the work of the author. Lastly, two audiovisual projects (a performance and a series of ten installation pieces) are developed using the entire mechatronic sound-sculpture series in an effort to realise ‘sound-based brutalism’.