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Sound Installation, 2021

Beer brewing, real-time generated sound; 3D printing, soldering; Python, Arduino; custom made circuit boards, blob counters, heaters, microcontrollers, LEDs, LCD screens, cameras, Raspberry Pi, drum kit, stepper motors, robotics; glass carboys, water, malt, hop, yeast, wooden trestles, Zarges aluminium cases

Engineers: Andrew Strokov, Alexey Grachev, Alexander Bochkov

3D engineering design by Alexander Bochkov

Python, Arduino programming by Andrew Strokov

Brewing by Oleg Malenok

BPM (Beats Per Minute) — an essential concept in music denoting the rhythm and speed of a track in quarter notes.

BPM (Blobs Per Minute) — the essential parameter which shows the number of blobs per time unit. It denotes the intensity of the fermentation. The process is determined by the number of blobs: whether it is taking place, has stopped or has yet to begin.

The basis of the installation is a drum kit and beer brewing fermentation system. Together, they form a closed system in which the fermentation process is the source and initiator of sound. The sound in the installation is completely analogue and is formed in real time. The rhythm that the drum sticks beat out depends on the fermentation process — the carbon dioxide released in the fermentation process initiates the mechanical beating of the drum. The sticks beat in time to each blob that forms.

In each vessel, the process takes place with differing intensity. The combination of the ingredients, the temperature, the properties of the drum kit and the fermentation system — all of this determines the process and nature of fermentation, and also the rhythmical pattern of the music created.

As the fermentation takes place, polyrhythmic structures are created (which can be found in Afrobeat) — several different rhythms are heard at once, which combine to form a single musical composition after a certain time. It is difficult to predict what the sound pattern of the fermentation will be. The resulting soundtrack is additional data, an analysis of which helps to gain a better understanding of the fermentation process.

This “drummer” can keep playing as long as it is fed by yeast consuming sugar, and as long as blobs continue to form. The working principle of the installation resembles a creative process and the presentation of its results to the world. As long as there are thoughts and ideas, possibilities and resources, we carry out actions in this process. If the sound of the drum is a sign of life in the installation, in the art system the signs of life are artistic projects. A feeling of timeliness is important here, an understanding when the project is ready, and when one needs to give oneself more time for the idea to reach maturity. If it is kept too long or stopped prematurely, the process may end in failure, becoming incomprehensible or incomplete.

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