A Terrifying, Interactive, Upcycled Noise Contraption
The heart of a piano and four violins; played by you with motorised mechanical agitators upcycled from dead computers. This is raw analogue circuitry, electro-motors, mechanical systems and found acoustic objects built into a meta-musical contraption. Large consoles house the controllers allowing groups of people to explore the sonic potential of each instrument and jam with their friends. What comes out is beautiful improvised electroacoustic music- or a horrendous cacophony, depending on your personal taste. Fascination guaranteed.
The Acousatron is ideal for large events where lots of people want to have a go at something. The consoles that allow people to interact with the instruments house eight specialist controllers, each of which has different ways of controlling the sounds. The amplified sounds are large, complex and constantly changing.
The Acousatron V3 (as featured in the promo video) is supplied with 4kWatt sound system, lighting and everything required. Three performers/facilitators are needed to fully support the installation. We can potentially take the whole installation and the crew in our van to any event realistically accessible by road. Day 1: £1000, additional days: £800 + travel (30p/mile) + accommodation.
The consoles for the Acousatron V5 (as featured at the Moscow Maker Faire 2018) were built at Fab lab Moscow using lazer cutters and CNC routers- all of the active instruments we can take in our luggage. This means that the Acousatron installation is available for use at any event anywhere in the world if you have access to Fab Lab -type tools and can provide the PA system.
In May 2018 the Acousatron was featured at Polytech Festival in Gorky Park, Moscow in collaboration with Cardboardia. For this event the instruments were fitted into a custom-made installation, the ‘noise kitchen’. In September 2018 we were back in Moscow for the Maker Faire, in collaboration with FabLab Moscow.
Evolution of the Acousatron
This installation has been in continuous development since 2010 with the instruments and controllers being continuously being broken by kids, made stronger, replaced, reproduced or reinvented.
V1 was built and exhibited for the first time in the Bassline Circus dome at Glastonbury Festival in 2010. V2 was built in 2011 and used replaceable instruments for the first time. V3 was built in 2014 -with the addition of the violins and piano (developed for the Recycled Robot Orchestra project) and continues to develop. V4 & V5 were built and destroyed in Moscow.
V3 will continue to develop, with new instruments and controllers already planned. The installation will undergo a significant re-design in the near future to fulfil it’s potential for musical performance and improvisation, optionally as part of an ensemble with musicians also playing conventional instruments.
Since it first crawled out from the sea of noise in 2010 the Acousatron has graced many festivals and events: Glastonbury, Latitude, Green Man, Camp Bestival, Beat Herder, Boomtown, Parklife, UK Maker Faire, Big Bang Fair, Future Everything, Jimmy’s Farm, CarFest, Edinburgh Science Festival, Jodrell Bank Festival, the National Science & Media Museum, the Science & Industry Museum, and many other smaller events and institutions.
‘The Acousatron was a fantastic addition to our Half term activities and kept children and adults of all ages engaged and entertained in what was one of our busiest weeks of the year. The Noisy Toys team worked tirelessly for 9 solid days and their enthusiasm and energy never wavered – I don’t know how they do it! At Eureka! we’re always looking for interesting and playful ways to engage children with STEM and the activities Noisy Toys provide certainly tick that box. It was a delight to see children of different ages and abilities interact with The Acousatron and for them to be learning whilst having fun which is what Eureka! is all about.’
– Jenny Parker, Play & Learning Manager, Eureka! National Children’s Museum, halifax