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Blanton Museum – SoundSpace featuring Electricity for Progress

I will be hosting a one day installation as Electricity for Progress at The Blanton Museum of Art in Austin Texas for SoundSpace, Sunday September 28th at 2p.

I will be installing a variety of modified consumer electronics and children’s toys around the Blanton galleries for guests to interact with. I will begin the day with a brief performance featuring radio signals manipulated through apples.

Here is a link to an audio recording of my Apple Radio performance:  



Please point any Austin friends over for a day of interactive, and slightly noisy, fun. Come ask questions and touch the art!

Personified (Apples) with SubPac for Electricity for Progress at Art Alliance

Personified with SubPac IMG_20140320_172354


Guests were able to ‘feel’ the music at the Electricity for Progress: Noise exhibition in the Philadelphia Art Alliance.  By touching two apples, guests are invited to wear headphones and sit on a chair ‘subwoofer’, provided by SubPac, to experience and control beautiful music.  Everyone wanted to feel the bass!

Noise: Electricity for Progress at the Philadelphia Art Alliance

Noise: Electricity for Progress at the Philadelphia Art Alliance, March 20 – April 20 2014

Noise: Electricity for Progress is a series of interactive and site specific installations by Philadelphia-based artist Sam Cusumano. Exemplary of the approach to craft that has re-surfaced within the last decade, the exhibition explores the craftsmanship of sound as expressed through a concentration on the repurposing of found materials, biology, and direct audience interaction.


Focused on the synergies between technology and the natural environment, viewers are invited to experiment with creating new sounds using electrical engineering and computing software. Many of the projects utilize organic materials such as plants and fruit, as well as the electrical inner parts of toys or now outmoded devices. These are manipulated to create an alternative interface to achieve various sound effects, thus subverting their original intention. Ultimately, the goal is to illustrate, through manipulation of sound, how technology can relate to the natural world.


At the PAA, Electricity for Progress will present three experiments: Biodata Sonification and Theremin, Personified, and Circuit Breaking and Modification. Biodata Sonification is an audio installation that allows people to experience the biorhythms of plants as music. Viewers are encouraged to engage with large plants fitted with specialized electronic sensors. The changes in physiology of the plant in reaction to human presence are synthesized into compositions in real time.


Paired with Biodata Sonfication is Theremin, which is a manipulated device that reacts to the proximity of an individual from its antenna, changing in pitch and volume depending on the distance. An electronic circuit interprets the radio signal interference of a person into sound, which is presented in direct contrast to the plant reacting to human presence in the Biodata Sonification installation.


Personified allows listeners to hear the music of their own body. Individuals are invited to engage with apples connected to a computer interface, which responds to touch and the intensity of grip. Extremely fine, real-time bio-feedback allows for endless possibilities in the variations of sound that can be produced.

Circuit Bending, and Modification is a display of interactive modified electronic toys. The objects’ electrical inner parts have been manipulated to achieve various effects, such as a telephone imbedded with a 30 second sampler which plays when the receiver is lifted, or a keyboard whose tone can be changed by turning a knob.

Electricity for Progress

Image: Circuit Bending, and Modification: A display of interactive modified electronic toys, 2013;

organic and found materials; dimensions variable


A resident of Philadelphia since 2001, Sam Cusumano performs and educates under the name Electricity for Progress. Through presentations, exhibitions, musical performances, and workshops, Electricity for Progress provides interactive environments for audiences to explore the devices and systems all around us, making seemingly complex electronic systems understandable and relatable to the natural world. The audience is encouraged to participate through presentations, workshops, and hands-on interaction. Cusumano’s work “Quartet” and “Personified” have been presented through the record label, producer, and sound artist collective Data Garden.



All ages and skill levels are welcome.

Biodata Sonification Workshop

April 5, 11am-1pm


Led by Sam Cusumano, participants will extract data from living biological systems and translate that information into music and sound using open source computer programs.


Circuit Bending and Modification Workshop

April 12, 11am-1pm


Learn how to manipulate simple electronic elements found in everyday objects, such as a telephone or a toy, in order to create playful sound compositions.

Music for Ice Cream at Art Alliance for Shooting Stars

interactive generative music using ice cream as interface

interactive generative music using ice cream as interface

Hello friends, in collaboration with Little Baby’s Ice Cream, we will be presenting ‘Music for Ice Cream’ – a generative interactive musical experienced using an ice cream cone-troller. When guests lick their ice cream, beautiful music will be generated controlled by their grip on the cone-troller.

Come out to Art Alliance and get in on the sticky musical excitement! Friday June 28th at 7p.

And here is our interview on NPR:


Some great media from the event!!


Data Garden Personified at Noguchi Museum

Today I will be out in Queens New York with Joe Patitucci exploring the role of interface in music generation by translating changing galvanic skin conductance using apples as probes into music!  This is a really great opportunity to get a fully immersive experience, our friends at SubPac have loaned Data Garden two ‘silent subwoofers’ (think vibrating back rest).  Guests will be invited to be seated with the SubPac and wear headphones and experience evolving musical scores and modulating sound sets based on conductive changes as guests interact with two apples.


Data Garden Quartet and PsychoGalvanometer Workshop at Communikey

Data Garden Quartet and PsychoGalvanometer Workshop at Communikey in Boulder Colorado April 25 – 26th hosted by the University of Colorado, Boulder Environmental Center.



Data Garden Quartet at Bartram’s Garden April 20-21

QUARTET, an audio installation giving plants the tools to play digital synthesizers.

Guests will be encouraged to accompany four large tropical plants fitted with specialized electronic sensors. The physiology of these living specimens will be converted into data by a computer. That data will then be translated into commands used to generate quadraphonic audio compositions in real time.

Limited to 25. RSVP to Leslie Gale at
Participants will leave with an understanding of how to graph real-time data streams from the metabolic processes of plants for use in creating generative electronic music. Individuals with basic experience in electronics, visual programming languages like Pure Data and Max MSP as well as digital audio workstations like Ableton Live will get the most from this workshop though all are welcome. Efforts will be made to pair up participants who have complementary skill sets.

Super Secret Agent Secret Message

This is an old telephone which I modified for Anja Gudic.  Here a small sampler (Saw 30 second) has been setup to play when the telephone reciever is lifted.  The speaker output has been connected through the handset to an earphone speaker.  The 30 second sample plays as a one-shot.



PsychoGalvanometer Kit

PsychoGalvanometer Kit

You can build your own PsychoGalvanometer!  A link to purchase this Kit will be >Coming Soon!<

Checkout a PDF of the Kit:

Download (PDF, 39.65MB)


…through sensitive electronic devices that translate fluctuations in energy…