Siren (2011)

A sound-responsive dress that uses Processing (and the Minim code library, in particular) and Arduino to map the singer's voice onto an array of spinning strings. The strings, in turn, tug and pull at the singer's dress.

Full Description

"Siren" is a performative sculpture which responds to the voice of singer Ashleigh Semkiw, as well as surrounding spectators. A vast plot of white silk pours out in all directions from the singer's dress, held up at various points by coloured strings. As the performer sings, the strings spin and tug on the silk, creating choppy waves in the fabric. Each string responds to a different range of frequencies in the human vocal range, making each performance a unique choreography of voice.

The artwork is made possible through custom audio software and hardware developed by the artist in the Processing language. The computer program analyses a live audio feed and determines the note being sung. Thus, in real time, the software controls the motor that attaches to the appropriate string, causing it to spin. The louder the volume of the note, the faster the corresponding string spins. Where harmonic overtones are present, more than one string will spin.

Dress by Patricia O'Connor.

This performance of the artwork took place at Angell Gallery in Toronto in Summer 2011. Earlier versions of the project were exhibited at Spoke Club (2010) and Brookfield Place (2010).

Ms. Semkiw is singing her arrangement of "Codex" by Radiohead, from the album "The King of Limbs" (2011).

Work metadata

  • Year Created: 2011
  • Submitted to ArtBase: Monday Dec 12th, 2011
  • Original Url:
  • Work Credits:
    • Mitchell F. Chan, primary creator
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