Graphite and Noise

Over the course of this week-long class, students explored a range of different conductive materials. By making their own pressure sensors, speakers, microphones and resistors students learned the fundamentals of controlling electricity, and the foundation of how various different electronic devices work.

We decided to focus on exploring the conductive qualities of graphite when connected to a Texas Instruments 555 chip and a speaker. The result was a noisy journey into DIY analog sound-heaven. One of our experiments focused on documenting the sonic characteristics and potentials of various small swatches of graphite, building a library of varied textures and tones, like a collection of sound effects or guitar pedals. For another exploration, a scientific approach was attempted to determine the relationship between pitch, on one hand, and the number of strokes, length and width of the graphite lines, on the other. In the end the graphite just wanted to make noise, and with the help of a Hulk Hogan action figure, we allowed it to go crazy!