Yolande Harris > Sun Run Sun and the Satellite Sounders

Sun Run Sun has been an in depth exploration into various navigation techniques and our relationship to sound in the environment. When navigating we try to locate ourselves by referring to an external source – traditionally a map, recently a GPS device – but ironically a serious sense of dislocation is becoming a common experience. Sun Run Sun was an attempt to look into ways of re-locating and re-negotiating our sense of where we are specifically through the use of sound. By using sound I hoped to encourage an experience of space that is more immediate and less referential than image. It also took me to navigation by animals that use sound, such as underwater mammals and bats. Although the project involved a considerable amount of technical development the primary aim was to create transformative experiences through sound.

Sun Run Sun was a direct continuation of the previous residency project called Taking Soundings (2007). The Artist in Residence at the Netherlands Media Art Institute / Montevideo in Amsterdam provided the opportunity to collaborate with STEIM on producing a sound installation, performances and develop special instruments called the Satellite Sounders. During the winter of 2007/8 I gathered the technical team of Sukandar Kartadinata, Jorgen Brinkman and Damian Stewart to help me build the Satellite Sounders, hand held instruments that take data from the navigation satellites orbiting overhead and turn it directly in electronic sounds whilst the player/navigator walks. All the detailed information on process, sounds, presentations and technologies is documented on the project blog http://sunrunsun.nimk.nl

At STEIM I specifically worked on building the six Satellite Sounders with Sukandar and Jorgen in the lab. They are built using the tiny Gumstix boards running Linux with patches in Pure Data which include a NMEA data parser for the GPS (written by Damian) and a sound generating patch. I tried various different sound to data mappings and tried out the prototypes – visit the sounds section of the project blog.

Sun Run Sun premiered in April 2008 at NIMK/Montevideo in Amsterdam, and has been shown in different formats at STEIM, TAG Den Haag, Mediamatic Amsterdam, V2_ Rotterdam, Temporary Museum Amsterdam, Art|Sci Centre UCLA, Integretron Joshua Tree California, NIME2008 & Contemporary Art Museum Genova, ISEA2008 Singapore, and up-coming at Picnic 2008 Amsterdam, Re:visie 2008 Netherlands Film Festival Utrecht. It has been reviewed in Neural and Eyeball Korea and an interview published in TagMag5.

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