Sculpting Clay With Sound

A group of students at the University of Dundee have created this interesting prototype called Sound Sculpted. The goal was to sculpt clay using sound files drive the sculpting arms. Ideally, you would end up with pieces of art that were unique to each piece of music. As you can see in the video (after the break), they did a pretty good job of building this thing and getting the arms to respond to the music. It is almost hypnotizing to watch.

We can’t help but notice that there is a bit of a design issue. Since the 4 arms are fixed vertically, and the clay spins on the same axis they are able to move on, your variation will be very limited. We think this doesn’t detract from the project, but does offer a large area for improvement.

How would you change the sculpting arms or their motion to make each piece more unique?

12 thoughts on “Sculpting Clay With Sound

  1. How would you change the sculpting arms or their motion to make each piece more unique?

    I would use one arm on a z-axis and slowly move it up (or down of you start from the top). Let the movement be 1 cm/minute or so. So the z-direction will be time, xy the amplitude.

  2. I just wonder how many times they had to try this to get it working. Having spent a semester in the advanced ceramics class in high school, it isn’t as easy as it looks to throw a piece of clay on the wheel. I saw more than one student launch a hunk of clay across the room when it got out of control.

  3. i remember seeing something like this in a tv show, i cant remember the tv show but…

    they took completed pots and put them under a record turntable like thing and it made sounds of what the artists were saying when they were making the pots…. it was the brush strokes that the needle fit into.

    1. Yea I remember that and I’ed assume that if the arms can “write” sound then they could “read” sound, although with only four variables the fidelity would be crappy beyond belief, but hey I think the concept is sound.

  4. hate to badmount hacks, but that one is lousy off the scale.

    you have to probably start the process manually, then attach something that will just hammer the clay on 4 predetermined spots? that’s about what? 40 levels of ‘randomness’ in the final product?

  5. “How would you change the sculpting arms or their motion to make each piece more unique?”

    There cannot be varying degrees of uniqueness – either it is unique (on-of-a-kind) or it is not.

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