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Supporting Creative Practice in Wireless Distributed Sound Installations Given Technical Constraints

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In this paper we present creative practice-led research into building large, scalable “multiplicitous media” artworks in which many networked devices control lights and speakers and are coordinated over Wi-Fi to create holistic artistic and environmental experiences. We discuss competing constraints, in particular the creative constraints associated with the challenge of coding complex multi-device behaviors, maximizing creative freedom and simplifying complex engineering and design decisions. Based on recent experience building multi-device digital installation works, we propose an approach, the “broadcast-first recipe,” that aims to simplify the space of creative possibilities, with a trade-off between expressive power and creative efficiency that we argue is worth adopting. We examine this approach in light of hard technical constraints such as central processing unit (CPU)and Wi-Fi bandwidth budgets, which we discuss in a concrete example. We consider how the effectiveness of the proposed approach could be further leveraged in the provision of support tools.

JAES Volume 69 Issue 10 pp. 757-767; October 2021
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AES - Audio Engineering Society