Mine the Scrap is a data driven process that designs new structures algorithmically generated from existing scrap. Using computer vision and construction automation, we address the pressing need to convert waste into resource. The installation allows the viewer to experience an algorithm at work.

The project transforms irregular, non-uniform stocks of construction scrap into new forms, using pattern recognition to find beauty and intricacy in neglected waste. Mine the Scrap finds the unique best use of each piece in a new structure through a sophisticated process of scanning and classification.

By combining the logic of the quilt with customized shape and pattern detection used in self-driving cars and face-recognition, Mine the Scrap uses big data to tackle big waste. In effect, it creates a search engine for waste, and then uses this search engine to find the best material solution to design problems. Mine the Scrap not only creates minimum-waste material lifecycles, it also develops a new vocabulary of design that is fundamentally informed by resources.

My task as Sound Designer was to immerse the audience, taking them 'inside' the algorithms at work. Working in close collaboration with the team of coders made this a extremely fun, and hugely technical project. The Sound Design is completely data-driven, being triggered by various parameters of the algorithm at work - reflecting the computations as they happen. There were four large screens displayed on one wall of a darkened room, each representing one stage of the data processing. The end result was absolute audio chaos - just how we like it!

· Date: 2015 - 2016
· Client: Certain Measures
· Team: Tobias Nolte, Andrew Witt, Mike Degen, Jason Tucker, Cody Glen, Claire Kuang, David Hamm
· Sound Design: Simon Epstein / Signal Sound
· Model Images: Marcel Mettelsiefen
· Partners: With support from Forecast Platform, thanks to Jürgen Mayer H., and BigRep
· Exhibitions: Forecast Festival at Haus der Kulturen der WeltARS Electronica: Human Factor -     Endless Prototyping


Sound Design for Animation Guru Alan Warburton's 'Cartoon Physics'

This piece was exhibited at the fabulous 'Fractured Gestures' conceptual art Festival in Basel, Switzerland - where numerous animators displayed their works which "reflect on the inner workings of digital tools".

Event page here

Through the overuse and 'breaking' of various animation algorithms, 'Cartoon Physics' is subversive, commenting on the financial crash while also being incredibly pleasing to the eye. It goes against the grain, providing a rare insight into the systems which allow animators to produce the flawless, clean, and 'correct' visuals we are now so accustomed to. Here is presented a cut down version for my portfolio.

Sonically speaking, I was tasked with realising what an algorithm overloading and breaking may sound like, which explains the dirty, crunchy, bitty, and techy audio. The perspective is as though we are observing the action through a sheet of perspex, as if the objects were in a box and we are watching from a machine room outside, creating a completely cold and clinical aesthetic.