Originally posted on MAKE:
Cécile Babiole’s Bzzz! The Sound of Electricity sculpture seems to embody the promise of the Arduino as being a microcontroller that artists can use to develop an idea without a lot of technical gruntwork:
The sculpture has a radial form, arranged around a sound wave generator at the centre of a room surrounded by a set of wall-mounted loudspeakers. The generator is connected to the loudspeakers by a bundle of audio wires running vertically and then branching out to form a sort of tree that shows the pathways of the electrical current.
The frequency generator is of a deliberately crude design, comprising just a few basic electronic components that allow the electrical current to be modulated so as to generate slightly amplified sound vibrations. Six simultaneous sounds are thereby produced and spread over the ambient space. This arrangement invites the viewer to move from one sound to another and experience how these sounds interact, how they scrape and buzz against one another.
By reinventing an obsolete low-tech sound wave generator in this all-digital age, Bzzz! serves as a commentary on the history of technology and a tribute to unprocessed, unsampled analog sound : in a word, the raw sound of electricity.