Divinatory Interfaces

Wind and electromagnetism are energies that expand through planetary scales. Divinatory Interfaces look into speculative sensing and sonic composition, by exploring the links between airflow and electromagnetism.

Since ancient times, people have looked to the heavens for signs, and since birds fly, people perceive them as messengers of the gods or fates. Birds were used to divine the future, through their behavior: how they sing, how they fly, and how they eat. Augury is the art of interpreting birds as omens—has been around since before the ancient Romans. It has been practiced all around the world, countless cultures focused on wise birds who talk to the higher and deliver insight to humans.

Our sensing and instrument setup resembles an Augury, by intentionally listening and observing birds, and obtaining a message from their orientation. We combine sensor data from the wind and electromagnetic signals to produce soundscapes. On one side, the wind is sensed using microphones and radio signals from a software-defined radio receiver.
The instrument synthesizes a sort of bird singing, to emulate the act of augury. Playing the instrument can enable or disable data flow from what birds perceive, attuning the generative singing of these birds. The experience of using the instrument/interface should be one of modulating the singing of birds, to obtain a free interpretation specific soundscape.

The song of the talking wire, a painting by Henry Farny depicts a native American listening to the telegraph line. The image is an omen to the irreversible disappearance of the ancient world, its cosmology, and the animist conception of nature. Here technology is a landmark of wind and electromagnetism. The man in the painting listens, and the audience observes this interpretation mediated through culture and technology, an unanticipated clash of the ancient and modernity. Does sensing media provide only one way of interpretation, or is it open to other worlds? Is divination an approach to technology and media in a more diversified way?
Project developed during Sentient Media (Medios Sintientes) - Medialab Matadero. Madrid 2022. In collaboration with Bettina Katja Lange, Lila Izquierdo, Pablo Bordons, Manuela Sancho Sánchez


Interface for sound spatialization in 8 output  / 4 input channels, and sound synthesis using embedded computing systems. It takes multiple forms of use and interpretation for sound performance and installation. In collaboration with Arnaud Riviére and Mario de Vega.

Check the post at the Bela Blog

Pulsar Kite

Pulsar Kite is an ongoing research intended to enquire into the playful practice of the kite flight by means of Sonic Augmentation. While it is a non competitive activity, a kite flight can be an activity of mere recreation without further purpose, although it can provide an opportunity to interpolate his potential outputs in the context of Generative Music. When an active user aims to control over unpredictable wind conditions, this physical interaction is transmitted to augment auditory, visual and haptic perception.

Pulsar Kite from Juan Duarte on Vimeo.

Pulsar Kite thesis available here

Pulsar Kite, aeolian instrument for computer music. Review in Neural Magazine.

Project Description

Pulsar Kite was initially proposed as a way to enhance an existing object by means of electronic interaction. Thus, the inherent features of a kite were evaluated as playful interaction that comprises a higher environmental system of unpredictable behavior, that is to say, wind currents can be interpreted as a dynamic physical generator to trigger sonic events. Even though the most basic purpose of kite the game is to achieve a certain level of control over wind conditions, a diffuse abstraction of game become visible along his limits: to reach skillful control through undeterministic and self created chaos. More recently, humanities and new media theory have become fascinated with chaos theory, complexity theory, in resonance with Deleuzian- Bergsonian affect and Autopoiesis (Cull, Laura 2009).

Therefore, as this research is situated in the diverse frame of New Media studies, it can imply a multidisciplinary approach that integrate artistic and scientific basis to debate complex experiences. For example we can consider the reading of Complex Systems theory as a review of non linear relations found in the the middle of natural phenomena and sonic augmentation. Consequently, the research suggest an experimental procedure towards the use of electronic media, in order to propose a set of sonic gestures for a performance distinguished by a naturally aleatoric behavior. Furthermore, the performance - game itself takes place in a contemplative situation that enables the understanding of one self enacting an event within a environment. This relation can be close related to the framework of Acoustic Ecology as it propose a sonic interaction with the environment.

Finally, the result of the experience aims to be enhance the single experience of the kite flight, by augmented sound interaction within open space. As an HCI this system is designed to register, process and output signal from a collection of data triggered by flying a kite. This data include speed, rotation and position, to process audio signal  in relation to an idle microphone input from the environment. Such a patchwork of information aims is to generate harmonious sound cues to support focus on control, in way to enable responsive feedback relation with user.

The sound core it is built upon the principles of composition with granular and pulsar synthesis, developed by Curtis Roads, in collaboration with Alberto de Campo.

Pulsar Kite continued his development during a Residences in

1)Hair Art
Hailuoto, Oulu, Finland.

Pulsar Kite Hailuoto Teaser from Juan Duarte Regino on Vimeo.

Pulsar Kite in Hailuoto Pöllännokka from Juan Duarte Regino on Vimeo.

2) Center for Contemporary Art - Castle Ujazdowski

Pulsar Kite - SoCCoS - CCA - Warsaw. Poland. from Juan Duarte Regino on Vimeo.

3) Institute of Advanced Media Arts and Sciences

It also was featured in the Inter-format Symposium 2014 "On Flux of Sand and Aquatic Ecosystems" in Nida Art Colony.

Inter-format Symposium 2014 "On Flux of Sand and Aquatic Ecosystems" from Nida Art Colony on Vimeo.

Project supported by FONCA CONACYT, Aalto Media Lab, and Aalto Media Factory.
During May 2013 Hai Art Art organised a project aimed to design and develop a sound application for mobile platforms, where designers could collaborate with local students of the primary school to promote the use of diverse sound materials to describe site specific experiences happening in the remote island of Hailuoto in Oulu, Finland.

The starting point for development brought proposals for imaginary instruments with playful qualities that focused on the attentive listening from the soundscape of the island. The concept development was supported by presenting an overview about software and video games design process. Consequently, a number of working sessions were arranged to propagate ideas and feedback from the students.

Sound Map Hailuoto is the result of this collaboration. Curently is an iPad application that contain sounds recorded in different parts of the island, that are activated in certain areas of the map. A 'mix' function allows the sounds to be combined with signal from the microphone of the device. The sonic result is a composition of processed signal from the sonic environment with Hailuoto sounds.

Sound Map Hailuoto - App Development with sound & code artist Juan Duarte Regine and Hai Art from Hai Art on Vimeo.

Sound Map Hailuoto Development Exhibition in Pori Art Museum, Finland. Picture by AGF

Presentation of Sound Map Hailuoto in UDK Berlin, with Media lab Helsinki. Picture by Pouyan Mohseninia

Paper Link:

The Aeolian

Aeolian Artefacts takes conceptually as a reference an ancient instrument, known as the Aeolian Harp (cf. Kircher, A. ca 1650.), that was used as an object that enables sacred spaces, such as mountains and temples, to "have a voice" according to an automatic mechanism that played with strings and resonators by the aleatoric forces of wind. This artistic practice achieved the concretion of pioneer scientific advances in acoustics, music theory, and instrument invention to register natural phenomena. Recently, sound artists and experimental musicians, including Gordon Monahan and John Grzinich, worked with Aeolian Harps for sound installations to record ambient interactions of wind with string-to-building resonators, to activate spaces sonically, producing uncanny and "supernatural" recordings that blend wind forces and material and spatial qualities into a single sonic material

Aeolian Artefacts is a piece that brings to the audience an experience of Augmented Listening of the Wind, where subtle changes in an open-air environment drive generative soundscapes. Using wind sensitive systems to detect orientation and speed of the wind, and acoustic events that are registered and processed as a generative sound piece by a network of sensor networks. The experience of augmented listening is interested to perceive the changes in wind and temperature are detected and processed by electro-acoustic devices. The nodes used to perform the installation include transmission and reception devices that operate within an ecosystem of environmental and electromagnetic signals, articulated in an auto-generative way. Different dynamics of the wind are recognized as a phenomenon that encompasses the micro to the macro temporal structure. The resulting sound piece emphasizes the wind as a phenomenon disseminated and reconstructed by means of the electronic process and radio signals: that is manifested as a system of functions, which resembles the cycles of the climate in our planet.

Exhibición 2. Creación en movimiemto. FONCA. Centro Nacional de las Artes. San Luis Potosí, México.

Exhibición 3. Generate!* Festival 2017

Project supported byr:
FONCA. Jóvenes Creadores (Multimedia) 2016-2017.
Pixelache Heslinki- Piknik Freq Ry

Media installation presented in Spiral Garden Gallery, Tokyo Japan. As part of 'Sounds from Finland' exhibition. Leija enables an experience a virtual kite simulator, which in turn generates visual and sonic stimulus. the exhibition was curated by experimental music composer Shinji Kanki, and produced by Media Lab Helsinki's Pipsa Asiala.

Leija recreates the experience of flying a kite. For that purpose a set of natural forces like wind is being calculated performed to determine a number of possible variables that affect an interaction with physical interface that measures physical control with a computer environment.

As an sound installation Leija aims to design processes to create sound and visuals in relation to the experience of flying the kite and a special feature to sonify interactions through a set of boxes with strings and motors that play during user interaction.

Kairit Solg designed the structure for easy (re)assembling and transportation, details and preparation of technical drawings for production. The use of boxes in Leija wants to explore the interaction within a half acoustic instrument played by a random sequences of percussion with strings.

Moreover, Leija explores ludic interaction along the creation of a generative soundscape, the use of the kite as an instrument to play with sounds from natural sources in Finland.

The output from interaction is more audible when the program registers speed changes crossed with orientation coming from a pair of PS Move controllers. speed or the string receives tension impulse, it is triggered a set of sound grains. In addition there is a set of gestures that enable to trade different sound modules: from granular, to FM and AM, synthesis. Each of these sound modules are modelled according to the events enhanced by the user.

User Interface

An environment portrays an open air area where user flies a kite: it could be a sea side or the top of a hill. User perspective is from ground level to follow kite motion.
An Perlin Noise algorithm will be used to generate dynamic wind currents in this virtual environment. Likewise a gravity, and solids simulation is applied to create a more realistic experience.

User Interface

A wide range of subtle to strong motion force, will cause the kite to generate a set of sound particles that becomes more audible when Leija is elevated and moved through this virtual realm. Sound particles become more perceivable as the game evolves.

Control for grains of sound

As a surrounded with different soundscapes from Helsinki, Finland.

A processes known as granular synthesis takes input pre-recorded sound material to process in real time to produce new organic tones of micro sound, to stimulate sensible perception of soundscape recordings.

Exhibition of Sounds from Finland

Sounds From Finland (Exhibition) from Juan Duarte Regino on Vimeo.

Kindly supported by Aalto University, 2014
For more info about the exhibition go to MLab Project Page and Media lab Helsinki page
Particles in the air is an installation that reflects on the subtle pervasiveness of dust. To make their presence obvious we use a sensor to detect air turbulence micro powder in a room, and from there generate an audible and visual piece projected onto a photographic medium. The first test of the installation is the following video. In the near future it is planned to be an installation.

Satoko Hinomizu
Juan Duarte Regino

Pictures by Satoko Hinomizu