Humming Mississippi is a sonic sculpture by Derick Ostrenko and Jesse Allison that performs a section of the Mississippi River on resonant wood planks as an organic instrument. In collaboration with researchers from Louisiana State University’s Coastal Hydraulics Lab a LIDAR scan of the Mississippi River floor was used to mill 18 miles of riverbed into individual planks of cedar. Small transducers attached to the back of each plank transform the board into a speaker colored by the individual characteristics of the wood and influenced by the carving of the river’s contours. The audio composition is generated based off a linear reading of river topology combined with a sonification of real-time river data including temperature, salt content, flow rate, and river height. A mobile application available at http://hmiss.in allows viewers to interact with the piece by manipulating the pitch of sonic hums that play back through their device and the installation in real-time.
Derick Ostrenko, is a media artist and Assistant Professor at Louisiana State University (LSU). He holds a joint-appointment in the Digital Art concentration at the School of Art and the Cultural Computing research group at the Center for Computation and Technology (CCT). Derick creates physical and virtual systems that examine the intersections of media, culture, and technology.
Jesse Allison is a professor at LSU in Experiment Music & Digital Media. As part of the AVATAR initiative, he is actively performing research and collaboration into ways that technology can expand what is possible in the arts. Prior to coming to LSU, he helped to found the Institute for Digital Intermedia Art at Ball State University. He is also President of Hardware Engineering of Electrotap, LLC.