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Mechanit - Burning Man project picture

Mechanit Project made a special appearance as a sound installation at the Burning Man in Black Rock Desert, Nevada in August 2019. The work was realized at the Finnish camp's, Steam of Life's sauna, where the mechanical soundscape created it's own tranquil atmosphere to give the visitors a break from the noises of the Playa.

photo - Hannu Rytky

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Just around the corner project picture

In just around the corner by choreographer Iina Taijonlahti and sound designer Atte Olsonen, the foresight of the future is examined through the movement of the human and the robot ball. Taijonlahti performs the piece with a robot ball.

A black swan also visits the piece. The black swan theory is a metaphor used in future research, which comes as a surprise due to its rarity and is often rationalized afterwards. The working group has consulted future reacher Marko Ahvenainen during the work process.

I was responsible for the sound design of the work. The soundscape of the piece consists of footsteps and the sounds of robots and solenoid motors drawing shapes in the acoustical performance space.

Bruce Nauman's video work Walking in an Exaggerated Manner Around the Perimeter of a Square, based on walking, served as a reference for the piece.

photo - Vesa-Pekka Grönfors

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Project picture Talvisirkus Super

Tanssiteatteri Hurjaruuth's Wintercircus Super

Director: Sanna Silvennoinen
Script: Sanna Silvennoinen & Johanna Keinänen
Music: Ninja Beat (Niko Votkin, Einari Stylman, Tapani Varis)
Sound design: Atte Olsonen
Costume design: Mirkka Nyrhinen
Light design: Juho Rahijärvi
Set design: Nyrhinen & Rahijärvi
Choreography: Jussi Väänänen
Magic tricks and illusions: Joni Pakanen
Performers: Jaimee Allen, Yuridia Ortega Fragoso, Gabriele Goria, Florian Grobéty, Nathan Jones, Valpuri Kaarninen, Gaby Muñoz, Maria Peltola, Raphaël Perrenoud, Eetu Ranta, Guzalnur Uqkun, Vanamo Alatalo, Antonia Ortiz Myllylahti

photo - Minna Hatinen

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Project picture the Solenoid system

The Solenoid System I've developed stands at the heart of many of my sonic explorations. This custom motor controller, synchronized with MAX/MSP and integrated with Ableton Live, has played a pivotal role in shaping my sound design and individual sound art projects. Version 3 of the System, coompleted in 2023, commands 178 Solenoid motor channels, enabling a diverse range of movements from subtle nuances to impactful tapping, driven by PWM pulses.

Beyond sound, the Solenoid System transforms physical space into an auditory canvas. During recent trials, this latest version, built in collaboration with Lucas Weidinger (Solisynth) and firmware by Andrea Vogrig, spans the venue in a grid layout, allowing for variedsound movement shapes. Whether creating circular patterns, square formations, or swaying sequences, rapid motor actions across the space immerse audiences in an interactive sonic journey.

The most notable works featuring the Solenoid System are Mechanit Project's "Koneistos", Tanssiteatteri Hurjaruuth's "Talvisirkus Super", and my solo work, the interactive installation "Listener". These creations spotlight the immersive soundscapes crafted by the Solenoid System, researching the synergy between technology and art. They invite audiences to explore captivating sonic environments brought to life by the latest evolution of the Solenoid System.

About solenoid motors:
The solenoid motor is an electromechanical motor that consists of a copper coil inside a casing and a plunger that moves within the coil. At one end of the plunger, there is a cap nut, and at the other end, there is a spring. When current is applied to the coil, the magnetic field generated by the coil pushes the plunger out of the coil. When the current is cut off, the spring returns the plunger to its original position.

This movement produces a snapping sound. The intensity of the electric pulse regulates the loudness of the snap sound, ranging from a barely audible click to a loud bang.

When multiple motors are arranged in a row, and electric pulses are sent to them in series from one end of the row to the other, it creates the impression of the physical movement of snaps in space. In Mechanit Project's performance "Mekanis-eloi (dance)," 180 motors are positioned in the performance space in a grid-like structure, enabling the movement of sound in three-dimensional space across the room. This phenomenon, the movement of sound in space, is impossible to achieve with a traditional speaker system. In that case, the movement of sound occurs in the "stereo" image formed between the speakers. The solenoid motor system allows for a genuine three-dimensional auditory experience.

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Mechanit Project's latest performance Koneistos is a synthetic nature experience, a performance installation in which the light modules and mechanical sound machines are the main performers. The work seeks beauty and warmth from the versatile sounds and clumsy movements of physical metallic materials and machines.

I work as the facilitator and leader of Mechanit Project. The group includes lighting artist Teo Lanerva, sound artists Atte Olsonen and Jani Hietanen, playwright-choreographer Soili Huhtakallio, the set builder Ville Metsätalo, experience designer Ukko-Pekka Itäpelto, and producer Anita Parri.

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“Mechanit Project's Koneistos is one of the high points of the Lux Helsinki [2023] Festival”

"The lights move vertically and horizontally in the abstract, raw, beautiful space of the metal piping. The light-beings feel like something alive. They climb, descend, crawl, stop, hide, and change color. They do their own work, act, and perform. ... In Koneistos we rely on our own sensations and associations. It is this openness that is so luxurious. For me, the various abstract geometric shapes built from the steel pipes of this synthetic forest were associated with the three-dimensionality of the spatial spaces of Kandinsky's paintings. I was inside them." - Hanna Helavuori, hannahelavuori.com

“During an hour’s meditative journey, the audience experiences a powerful, fully mechanically realized nature experience”
 (HBL review 7/25/2020)

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In Koneistos, the audience is invited to a “synthetic forest” spread over an area of 100m2. The forest, built of five-meter aluminum and carbon fiber pipes, is the habitat of dozens of small, mechanical creatures that communicate through movement, sound, and light. Mechanical light-creatures climb along the tree trunks in dialogue with sound objects sounding around the forest. As performers, we are present in the space, but more as equal residents of the forest with the machines and the audience, rather than in a hierarchical position as performers.

Koneistos was premiered at the Lux Helsinki 2023 festival and was elected to the Finnish Light Art Association's Lux Helsinki 2024 international curator residency pitch-program. Jani Hietanen's and Atte Olsonen's sound design in Koneistos was nominated for both the "Äänisäde 2022" and "Äänisäde 2023" awards.

Koneen Säätiö, the Finnish Cultural Foundation, The Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland and Arts Promotion Centre Finland is funded the project.

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Project picture Listener

Listener is a spatial interactive audiovisual sound installation. The audience is invited one by one into a darkened room to explore the vivid interactivity of the surrounding rattling sound in the light of a flashlight.

”The visitor enters the fully blacked out space alone. The only light is the flashlight they are handed at the entrance. There is a continuous uneasy rattling, a cricket-like sound that soon surrounds the visitor completely.

The rattling goes suddenly quiet when the visitor lights the flashlight. The visitor searches around the space with the flashlight, the rattling gradually fades in. It feels like the source of the rattling is though continuously evading the light beam however hard you try to find it.

The visitor can slowly see the “root system” of cables that has grown like a vine over the carpet, the tables, the walls. Some are even hanging from the ceiling. In the end of every vine is a little metallic thing, a motor of some kind.”

Aesthetically the work investigates the agency of machines. The timid character of the motors invites the viewer to meditate on the presence shared between her/him and the mechanical beings in the shared space.

Technically the installation is built around a modular solenoid motor and light sensor system. The fully acoustic and spatially articulate soundscape of the work is produced solely by the mechanical action of the solenoids. The work is adaptable to a wide variety of spaces and is scalable with its 20-54 solenoid motors and can accommodate spaces between 20-70m2.

A slideshow (4:40 min) accompanied by a binaural recording can be found here: https://youtu.be/-7d404tP7Y8, please listen with headphones.