Sonic washing machine is a virtual instrument that offers the experience of playing something that is not regarded as a musical instrument, yet provides a level of control which is only possible with software. All of the sounds have been extracted from actual recordings of a regular washing cycle, using an extensive library of samples from a domestic washing machine. These sounds are layered to form a collection of patches that can be played, modified and sculpted in the same way as a synthesizer.
I have used sonic washing machine to create new music, developing custom percussive controllers to make it playable using physical devices for live work. I also produced a finished version of sonic washing machine in the format of a ‘refill’, making it available to other artists who may wish to experience using it as an instrument.
Sonic washing machine was first exhibited on 1st May 2007 with a live performance at the Surface Gallery in Nottingham. It was part of a series of works under the theme “Rules of the Game”, exploring the connection between art and play.
Through examination of audience response I have discovered a level of satisfaction through interaction with objects that generate familiar noise. Although many of the sounds have been altered beyond recognition, many still have a sense of familiarity that makes it fun to play.