Intonarumori Demo Video from urbanSTEW on Vimeo.

Intonarumori Goes to Canada (2014)!

Following the Grand Prize award, our Intonarumori found international recognition at the Open Ears Music Festival in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. The collection of noise makers were part of a summer-long installation in THEMUSEUM.

Intonarumori Wins the First MCM Electronics Raspberry Pi Grand Prize! (2014)

In conjunction with Make Magazine and MCM Electronics the first Raspberry Pi contest was held in 2013 for artists and makers who used the clever computer contraption known as the Raspberry Pi. urbanSTEW won the grand prize in this contest which consisted of a MakerBot 3D printer and tons of other cool Raspberry Pi stuff.

Intonarumori at the spark! Festival in Mesa, AZ (2014)

For the Spark! Festival of Creativity at the Mesa Arts Center, urbanSTEW proposed an interactive sound installation inspired by machine instruments called Intonarumori (in English “noise intoners”). The festival commissioned the work, and we have built and presented six interactive sound box instruments!

The project was a great success in many regards. For us, it was months of fun experimentation in areas we have never tried before, like the Raspberry Pi computer and wood construction. Against all expectations, it resulted in six different box instruments that not only worked but survived five days of repeated onslaughts of eager children and adults. The boxes provided a new way to play and explore music making for folks of all ages and diverse backgrounds.  Judging from comments like “Wow, this is so cool!” and “Mom, let’s go home and build one!” we even inspired a few kids to want to explore electronics themselves.

The Six Intonarumori Noise Machines

For more details about each box, what it does and how it was constructed, please see the following pages:

We also have more information about the general box design and construction, as well as the history of the Intonarumori project that inspired us.

Pi Recipe for Success

The primary reason our project was completed successfully is the Raspberry Pi. The Raspberry Pi allowed us to develop and run sophisticated sound processing software on a tiny computer easily. This made it possible to achieve quality sound and complete the project in a relatively short time frame. Also, the Raspberry Pi allowed us to package the final designs in robust, completely self-contained portable boxes that only needed to be plugged in. Overall, the boxes survived being sat on, stood on, spilled on, kicked, slammed, and pounded by over 2000 children and adults during a 5 day festival.

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Project Inspiration:  A Brief History of Intonarumori

For examples of urbanSTEW’s Intonrumori go here: Intonarumori – urbanSTEW

 The Intonarumori came from a futurist art movement fathered by experimental painter and composer Luigi Russolo.  Russolo was considered to be the first “noise artist.”  In 1913 he wrote L’Arte dei Rumori, translated as The Art of Noises.  In this Russolo stated that the industrial revolution had given modern men a greater capacity to appreciate more complex sounds. He found traditional melodic music confining and envisioned noise music as its future replacement.  Russolo’s Art of Noisesclassified “noise-sound” into six general groups:

  1. Roars
  2. Whistles
  3. Whispers
  4. Screeches
  5. Bangs
  6. Voices of animals and people

Intonarumori machines were designed to recreate the industrials sounds of the early 20th century.  Shaped like a box with a speaker on the front face, performers could generate sounds by manipulating levers, knobs, and buttons.  Futurist composers created symphonies for the machines, although early performances were often met with disapproval and even fist fights.  Since the Italian Futurist movement, many people have created their own Intonarumori machines, often with an open or translucent side so that the internal workings of the device are visible.

urbanSTEW’s Noise Machines:

Russolo built noise machines to recreate the sounds of the Industrial Revolution, so in honor of the 100 year anniversary of The Art of Noises, urbanSTEW is building noise machines to recreate the sounds of our current Digital Revolution. The final installation is a set of six machines, one for each of the classified “noise-sounds” found in Russolo’s manifesto. By playing with simple buttons, cranks, and levers users can create and manipulate sounds that are a familiar to our current digital soundscape.

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