Instead of writing on paper, a sound executed in paper in three dimensions. All images courtesy the artists.

Speaking of making the ephemeral tangible, as artist Andrew Spitz tells us, “it’s a fun process to map something that is so fleeting as a sound to a physical object.”

That’s what he does in a new collaboration with Andrew Nip of the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design in Denmark. It’s a simple process – and that’s a good thing, as it means anyone with access to a laser cutter can get in on the fun. Using software written in the open source, design-friendly coding language Processing, your voice message becomes a waveform, and then that waveform becomes a series of discs in paper, which, strung together, produce a three-dimensional sculptural object.

The flat image, as produced by Processing.

The results are quite elegant; I suddenly want to string these around my flat. From the project description:

Paper Note creates a tangible waveform from laser cut disks of paper. The user records a message, a sound or loads up music, and the system analyses the sound to map each moment to a corresponding slice.

This project was made with Andrew Nip at CIID. We programmed it using Processing. Each Paper Note is made up of around 450 stacked disks of paper. The louder the volume at a specific moment, the bigger the disk. Our algorithm samples the right amount of information from the recording to scale the physical waveform to the size of around 14cm.

Paper Note ~ A Tangible Paper Waveform {+ generative}

By the way, Andrew Spitz has over a dozen terrific videos on this sort of physical computing and sound and vision projects on his Vimeo account: