Sound Energy Harvest

Could you harvest energy through the sound of an electro-acoustic instrument? Sound Energy Harvest is a light-based music performance between Knurl and FAAB based on the processes of energy harvesting and storage, and reflecting on renewable energy sources.  In this experience, we harvest electricity through the vibration movement of our instrument and transform it into light.

Photo credits: Suzette Bousema

Rafaele Andrade: Knurl, concept, sound design

Adam Pultz Melbye: FAAB (feedback-actuated augmented bass), concept, sound design

Jo Grys: Electrical engineer

Energy harvesting is no novel concept, through the ubiquity of solar power, which is one of the most easily available and powerful sources for ambient energy. Techniques for harvesting energy from other sources, for example, temperature differentials, radio frequencies, or vibration, is an active research field, as it allows running low-power devices in environments where readily or long-term access to electricity is absent.

With Sound Energy Harvest, Rafaele Andrade and Adam Pultz tap into the vibrational energy created by their electro-acoustic string instruments Knurl and FAAB to power light sources such as LEDs. 

With the transduction of sonic and musical gesture into light, Sound Energy Harvest, in addition to being an audio-visual performance in its own right, offers an artistic perspective on scales of energy production and consumption. Although the sonic blasts from Knurl and FAAB reach significant volume levels, the energy produced is, at best, modest. From an artistic perspective, this is a creative challenge. Yet, from the perspective of a global economy struggling to wean itself of fossil fuels and transition to other and less destructive sources of energy, the burning question remains, to which extent we will be able to power an energy-intensive society with less dense sources of energy.