Conductive Copper Jams

Copper is the oldest form of metal (referenced in the Old Testament) and is good for bending and hollowing being soft and malleable. A very expensive metal, it can be annealed by heating and cooling. Cooling too quickly causes distortion and filing, drilling and sawing is not easy. It is very resistant to corrosion once it has acquired a green oxide. Crucially for this project; Copper has the highest conductivity of the commercial metals and as such has played a fundamental role in enabling the development of electric and electronic applications.


I am testing how this material can be used as an interface to control effect parameters within Ableton. Below is a video of a studio test connecting a strip of copper tape via croc clips to the analog in pins of an Arduinio.  I’m using the Ableton connection kit again to apply a real world physical action to control a low pass filter. I found this method of tapping a croc clip on to the copper tape acted more like an off and on switch than a controlled variable result. It didn’t feel quite dynamic or controllable enough to be used within performance, further tests are required.



Whilst building a DIY voltage controlled oscillator using the 4046 Phase Locked Loop IC Chip, I began testing out which materials could be patched into ‘pin 9 – VCO IN’ which takes a voltage in, compares it to the internal voltage and outputs the difference as a square wave. I hooked up a length of copper tube to pin 9 and noticed that the circuit began to pickup radio frequencies that were turned off and on by placing my hand on to the copper tube. The effect was something like a drum pad activated by velocity. Next steps are to investigate hoe many parameters I can control through a copper pipe sculpture constructed of multiple bars with different connection points to both Ableton and DIY electronic circuits and how I would isolate individual sections.



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