A Box that Yawns

In collaboration with Joy (Eun-Jee Kim).

This has so far been the most exciting assignment that I have worked on at ITP. The objective was to:
a. learn to record sounds using the zoom recorder and
b. edit the sounds in Logic X Pro

With this in mind, we explored several ideas for our intended sound piece.  Both Joy and I were sold on the idea of recording and designing a collection of yawns. The core concept was to exhibit the chain reaction that a yawn can cause. We wanted the piece to be a “relay of yawns” that would subsequently make the audience yawn.


Prototype 1:
A soundscape that begins with random spurts of different people yawning leading on to become a sleepy rendition of Mozart’s O Fortuna. We recorded yawn-y male and female versions of Oh Fortuna that we tried to layer over each other for it to sound like the track is escalating. Here is a clip of one of the yawns:

After a couple of iterations, we felt the song didn’t feel like a yawn anymore and we were unableo create the escalating effect that ‘o fortuna’ has. We soon moved on to our next idea.

Prototype 2:
A box that would yawn – Each time you open the lid, you hear a different yawn.  For this iteration, we:

1. Made a box (mostly from collected junk)

2. Created a photocell circuit and Connected it to an Arduino Uno


3. Used the ‘AnalogOutSerial’ arduino example created by Tom Igoe and tweaked it to suit our project. For our version, we did not require an output. We used the input from the photocell to trigger the yawns to start playing.

4. The input was received by Max MSP, where we defined that each time the photocell’s value goes below 50 (i.e when light hits the photocell), a yawn would play.

A big thanks to Gabe for helping us realize this project.

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