Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens presents Butterfly Forest, a popular exhibit open each April through September at one of the largest conservatories in the U.S., based in Pittsburgh, PA. Here, you can watch colorful butterflies break free of their chrysalises to soar and glide among beautiful Phipps blooms, getting an up-close look of some of nature's most prized pollinators. You will also be surrounded by hundreds of sounds generated by tiny computers hidden amongst the foliage. These sounds were designed by Carnegie Mellon University students enrolled in a course titled Experimental Sound Synthesis, which explores the intersections of music and technology within the fields of sound design, experimental music, and installation art.
The students in this course designed their sonic compositions to support and uplift the experience of visitors walking amongst the butterflies. They also wrote code that makes their sound pieces into "generative" compositions - the sounds that one hears are created through algorithms that produce continuously changing sound experiences.
The composers, sound designers, coders, and builders behind this work are:
Ty Van De Zande
The students created this installation as an 11-part composition which spans the entirety of the Stove Room. As visitors walk along the path, they will experience the piece at their own pace, since each of the 11 parts is nestled in a different area of the room. The students have titled this work Kaleidoscope. The map/score for the piece is featured below:
Excerpts of the generative compositions can be previewed on SoundCloud: