Field Mode

by Signe Lidén
photo by Signe Lidén

Field Mode

Field Mode is an instrument for field recording which operates as both a speaker- and a microphone membrane. The instrument offers possibilities for studying, recording and performing environments. It is made of textile which allows for a hybrid set of functions such as sound diffusion, reflection, masking, in addition to recording and playback.

Initial research questions:

With an interest in both active and passive sound masking, I wanted to investigate how a fabric can function as a microphone membrane and a speaker surface at the same time. I also wanted to test how the fabric can be used as an absorbent, reflector and diffuser. To do this, I placed the membrane in an outdoor environment and explored how the environment responds as well.

Research into textile:

During my research residency at Tilburg Textile Museum, I had a chance to produce my own membrane with certain acoustic properties. There I got to explore the following:

  • How electronics could be implemented in the weave.
  • Possibilities and limitations of conductive thread integrated in the weave.
  • What are the qualities of fabric and fiber that could create a “resonant” textile.

Research into electronics:

During the preparation for The Tidal Sense, a commissioned work and residency for LIAF 2019, I was looking into various possibilities for microphone and transducer electronics for the acoustic fabric. I ended up choosing piezo elements with high impedance and attaching them directly onto the membrane. This served the purpose of a microphone. As a speaker, I attached a lightweight full-range transducer element. For tests using the fabric for active noise cancellation, the piezo elements were used both as mic and speaker element.

Research into place:

At the fulcrum of this research is the study of places of rapid environmental change through sound and development of recording instruments.

Research partners:

Tilburg Textile Museum, LIAF 2019, DOKK