The Agents Play Their Music


Bringing the A.O.S.C. project to the next level – the agents play their music!

In the previous setup the agents functioned only as the ears of the system, listening to the acoustic environment and sending the data of the audio spectrum to the main server. Everything else, the analysis of the data streams, the resulting calculation of the parameters for the sound synthesis as well as playing back the music, all that happened on the server side.

Now we bring the music back to the agents!

The server only does the calculations and sends the stream of parameters back to the agents where the music is generated by a Pd patch.
That means, you can sit beside the agent, listen to your actual acoustic environment and – by using headphones – to the collective electronic soundscape composed by all the networked agents.
Now this system offers the possibility to directly observe the impact of the acoustic events at the agent’s place as well as direct acustic interaction with the system.

In the moment we have four agents running: Toronto, Lviv, Sydney and Bonaforth.

Currently we are working on the algorithm which is receiveing the data stream and calculates the control data for the music.

Here are some snippets.

aosc170731 is a YouTube video with syncronized visualisation of the data streams.

A.O.S.C. – Nervensystem

A.O.S.C. is a group of autonomous networked machines (agents) transforming the environmental soundscapes at 5 international places into a realtime composition of abstract electronic music.

blackhole-factory has sent out 5 microphone agents to distant places where they permanently register the current soundscape and stream their analysis of the sound spectrum into the installation space.
A central computer interprets this information with regard to frequency, texture and synchronous events. The emerging space consists of music, light, the movement of a machine and 3d printed objects.

The release ‚Nervensystem‘ is focussing on the musical aspect of the project and contains excerpts of the live recording of the 24 hours performance on april 4-5 2016.

Each agent controls a drone as well as a series of short tones produced by a FM synthesis patch programmed in Max/MSP.
During the 24 hours performance the system autonomously recalled presets for the FM synthesis patch. The interpolation between presets was controlled by the amount of synchronous events within a certain frequency band at two or more places.

The agents and their hosts:
agent01: Berlin, Germany – Barbara Slawig
agent02: Lviv, Ukraine – Ostap Manulyak, Mykhaylo Barabash
agent03: Victoria, Canada – Paul Walde
agent04: Londrina, Brazil – Chris Vine
agent05: Sydney, Australia – Roger Mills
installation space: Studio_A | Kunstmühle Braunschweig, Germany – Elke Utermöhlen, Martin Slawig

Available as free download or name your price from our Bandcamp page.

Residency in Sydney

During october 2015 blackhole-factory stays as Artists in Residence in Sydney as guests of SOPA Sydney Olympic Park Authority
Our special thanks to Tony Nesbitt

The place:

The Armory - building 20
foto: blackhole-factory

Newington Armory in the Sydney Olympic Park is an old magazine for gunpowder and later high explosive ammunition for the army until it was changed into a public park for the Olympic Games in the year 2000
More information about this heritage area

Here we are:

foto: blackhole-factory

We are staying in a beautiful cottage in the park, in a fantastic and peaceful environment. Working in a spectacular studio in building 20 of the Newington Armory. The old storage for weapons has its special atmosphere and great acoustique. A perfect place for our research on the new piece “Die Erschütterung der Welt”, which will be shown in Braunschweig by February 2016.
We are setting up the wireless sensor network for the project and testing different modes of integrating it into the stagework.

Newington Amory building 20
foto: blackhole-factory
studio in the Armory
foto: blackhole-factory

Beside our research work we are doing a lot of public activities. See the timetable here:

Oct 2: Hacking the Stage – lecture about blackhole-factory concepts of work at CCS in the University of Technology in Sydney

UTS Sydney
foto: blackhole-factory

Oct 3-5 and 17-18: we present some installations in the studio for the public.
Workshops are being held In collaboration with the Sydney based arts collective tranSTURM and musician Roger Mills about the common work under the title “Waterline”.
In the exhibition we show “The Flight of the Seaswallow” as an interactive installation, fragments of the work with the wireless sensor network, our “CamBot” and some other sound experiments.

foto: blackhole-factory

Oct 7: Martin Slawig live playing with the Ethernet Orchestra at Parramatta Lanes Festival. The concert being planned for Oct 9 had to be cancelled because of a protest demonstration on the streets against a mosque in Parramatta.

Oct 8 blackhole-factory played SnakeRiverDream as a live set at FBI-Radio ‘Ears Have Ears’ as guests of Brooke Olsen.

Oct 21-22: a series of workshops happens as a part of the Youth Eco Summit (YES) in the Olympic Park.

Oct 28: Ethernet Orchestra concert. After years of playing networked concerts blackhole-factory and the Sydney based members of the Ethernet Orchestra are meeting for the first time  live on stage: Roger Mills, Yavuz Uydu, Bukhchuluun Ganburged, Shaun Premnath + streamed from Londrina Brazil: Chris Vine

Ethernet Orchstra @ People's Republic Sydney
Foto: blackhole-factory

Documentations of the residency can be found here:
Flickr Page



Photo: blackhole-factory

Dance_Code is a project by the dancer Agnetha Jaunich (Kassel) in collaboration with blackhole-factory, exploring the possibilities of transforming movement and sound into 3d graphics in an improvisation.

The movements of the dancer are tracked by a kinect sensor and mapped to the position and shape of the 3d object. The frequency spectrum and amplitude of the sound are changing the texture and distortion of the object.

Agnetha Jaunich – dance
Elke Utermöhlen – voice
Martin Slawig – percussion + live processing, programming

The project is supported by Kulturinstitut der Stadt Braunschweig

Watch an excerpt on Vimeo:


[vc_row full_width=”” content_placement=”top” section_separator_top_height=”” section_separator_top_height_tablet=”” section_separator_top_height_mobile=”” section_separator_bottom_height=”” section_separator_bottom_height_tablet=”” section_separator_bottom_height_mobile=””][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1552904547362{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-right: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;padding-left: 20px !important;}”]Trying out some OpenGL and physics in Max. It is based on the NurbsSheet patch from the Physics-Patch-a-Day thread in the cycling74 forum.
In this test the movement of the 3d object is generated randomly. It will later be connected to the hands and feet of a dancer tracked by a kinect.
The sound is generated by using an induction coil which is moved over different parts of the laptop and then live processed using Max/MSP. The result is sent to a second laptop to influence the visuals.

Watch on Vimeo:


SeaSwallow Project – Network

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overview of the network built for the SeaSwallow Project


For the SeaSwallow project we set up a network of Max/MSP patches connected locally at the performance space in Braunschweig and over the internet with the 2 remote places.

The tasks of these patches are to get sensor data from the 3 places and to visualize them, to manage a database as a shared memory of the performers, to display this as an OpenGl graphical user interface (SwallowWorld) and to playback the audio and video files from the database while using this 3D interface.

In addition to this Max/MSP network we used the eJamming platform for realtime audio networking.
The original plan was to do this also in Max but bandwidth limitations (upload speed of 450 kbit/s at one place) forced us to switch over to eJamming.

Each of the three places is equipped with the SeaSwallow SensorKit, a Max patch called SwallowWorldNy / Syd / Bs and eJamming.
All the other Max patches are running on computers in Braunschweig.

The SeaSwallowSensorKit
It consists of an Arduino UNO board running a sketch for reading analog sensor data and sending it to a serial object in the SwallowWorld… Max patch.
Attached to the Arduino are 3 different sensors:
1. a LDR (light dependent resistor) to mesure the amount of light in the environment
2. a temperature sensor (DS1820 Dallas 1-Wire Digital Thermometer which requires the OneWire.h and DallasTemperature.h libraries on the Arduino)
3. a 3-axis accelerometer (MMA7361LC) which is fixed to a wrist band. Each performer is wearing one of this motion sensors, sending out a permanent stream of his handposition to the other places.
In combination with a button in the Max patch to switch navigation mode on or off the performer can navigate in the OpenGl world (SwallowWorld), moving the arm for looking around, fast shake to move forward or stop, double shake to move backwards.

the SeaSwallowSensorKit
Photo: blackhole-factory


SwallowWorldNy / Syd / Bs – Max patch
This patch is managing the peer-to-peer network connections to the other places. It displays the SwallowWorld and the 3 hand models as OpenGl graphics and containes the button to switch one’s own navigation on or off.
The sensor data coming from the Arduino is send to the other places using the udpsend Max external.
The camera image from New York and Sydney is send to Braunschweig as a mpeg-4 compressed video using the vipr external  from Benjamin Day Smith in combination with
The patch receives the motion data of all 3 performers and displays it by controlling the OpenGl hand models: moving it and changing it’s color for navigationOnOff, move forwards, backwards or stop.
It also receives the data for view point and lookat in the SwallowWorld calculated in the NavigationControl patch in Braunschweig to syncronize the movements of all three SwallowWorld graphics.
At last it receives the processed video stream from the DataBase in Braunschweig.

SwallowWorldSyd Max patch
Photo: blackhole-factory


The Max patches running only in Braunschweig, connected over the internet to the remote places:

NavigationControl – Max patch to receive and manage the incoming motion data and use them to control the OpenGl world and the playback from the files in the data base.
It receives the data from the 3 motion sensors and the information about who is in navigation mode.
As soon as one performer is in navigation mode the patch uses his motion data to control the view point and lookat parameter in the SwallowWorld.
For this we modified the z.glNav abstraction from Zachary Seldess.
If more than 1 performer switches on navigation mode the patch calculates the average of the data. This can be used for group flights (what we call swarm naviagtion).
The SwallowWorld functions as a 3D sound/ video map.
An algorithm (Pythagoras in 3D) is permanently calculating the distance from the view point to the position of the files in the SwallowWorld to decide which files to play. Files will be chosen when the viewer comes close. In case of audio the distance defines volume and the mix of the closest points. In case of video files the distance defines the grade of distortion using alpha masking.

DataBase – Max patch containing the coordinates of all places and files integrated in the SwallowWorld
The files are sorted by different types like basic point (geographical place positioned on the edge of the globe by using it’s GPS coordinates), video, interview, music, filed recording. Each type has a different color in the 3D world.

DataBase view from outside
Photo: blackhole-factory
SeaSwallow Database view from inside
Photo: blackhole-factory


RemoteCameras – Max patch to project the camera images coming from the remote places onto 2 balloons on stage.

SeaSwallow Project RemoteCams
Photo: blackhole-factory


StageLight – Max patch, receives the temperature and light data from the 3 places to control color and intensity of 3 LED spots on stage by the use of a LAN Box.

SeaSwallow Project RemoteCams
Photo: blackhole-factory