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SkypeBack: Network Feedback Instrument

Designed in collaboration with Kevin Hay; ‘Skypeback’ explores feedback loops through the Skype Network using a combination of iPhones, various lengths of pipe, speakers and computers.  ‘SkypeBack’ builds upon previous work;  a Max MSP translation of Agostino Di Scipio’s  ‘Feedback Study’ (Di Scipio, 2003) of which, more information can be found here.

Edinburgh Science Festival Performance Video 2013 (InSpace, Bristo Square, Edinburgh)

Alison House Live Performance Audio 2011 (Alison House, Music & Sound Research Department, Edinburgh College of Art, The University of Edinburgh)

How SkypeBack Works
Three Computers and two iPhone’s are connected to the Skype Network. All three computers are also connected, through various means, to speakers in the room and Digital Signal Processing (DSP). Moving through the performance space we are able to explore different combinations of feedback loops and how they diffuse throughout the space.

Skype Iphone to Skype Iphone


The sound travels repeatedly through the Skype Network in a feedback loop. On each cycle the sound is affected by the strength of the internet connection, the compression and the self correction algorithms inherent in the Skype Network. These elements add to the rhythmic, melodic and textural form… the patina of Skype.
As shown in the photographs above pipes are used to filter the feedback generated larsen tones. By holding the iPhone to one pipe while sliding it into another, Kevin and Tam ware able to adjust the resonant frequencies of the larsen tones, allowing them to quite literally ‘play’ the feedback.

Photo Credit: Gallery slideshow – Colin Chipchase