Digital media artist turns postal barcodes into musical composition December 22 2014

In the alt_space:
Mail Barcode in the key of Bb by Tammy Knipp
On view: January 3 - February 14, 2015
Artist Talk: Friday, January 23, 11am

New Smyrna Beach, FL — Arts on Douglas begins the new year with a compelling audiovisual art installation, entitled Mail Barcode in the key of Bb, by digital media artist Tammy Knipp. The alt_space installation invites viewers to experience the multi-sensory processing of encoded and decoded information. Mail Barcode in the key of Bb will be on view January 3 through February 14, 2015. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, January 3, 4 -7pm.

What does a postal barcode sound like? How does one "listen” to such non-aural information? These are intriguing questions posed by the audiovisual installation, Mail Barcode in the key of Bb by Tammy Knipp. The Intelligent Mail Barcode (IM Barcode) is a digitally encoded series of lines used to sort and track domestic mail. The encoded system consists of 65 barcode identifiers distinguishable by height––tracker, ascender, descender, and full bar. Using these visual identifiers and patterns as source material, Tammy Knipp explores the multi-sensory potential embedded in our information-driven world.

The installation is comprised of a wall-mounted representation of the IM Barcode system and a hypnotic sonification of its embedded data. The composition fluently weaves elements of classical piano harmony and bubbling synthesized arpeggios to create an ambient soundscape meant to accentuate multiple streams of aural perception. This musical treatment seamlessly merges with the visual component of the installation to encourage a multi-sensory experience of image and sound. 


“The visual structure of these vertical bars can be seen as a rhythmic value of musical notes arranged on the Grand Staff. When I observed three tracker bars (the shortest vertical line), I visually conceptualized a musical notation of triplets. I interpreted the sound of the full bar as a whole note (the longest of the vertical lines) and the ascender and descender bars as half notes with upward and downward stems” explains Knipp.

Mail Barcode in the key of Bb offers an alternative modality for perceiving and interacting with non-aural images that would not be possible using vision alone. In addition to the audiovisual installation, Tammy Knipp will hold an Artist Talk on Friday, January 23 at 11am.


Tammy Knipp received an M.F.A. in Image Making & Digital Arts from University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD and a M.F.A. in sculpture and 3-D installation from Washington University, St. Louis, MO. She has been included in several international and national juried exhibitions including SIGGRAPH; ISEA; ARS Electronica. She has presented several papers at numerous conferences including Eurographics, Milano, Italy and Informatics, Paris, France. Her projects have been published by IEE Computer Society; Eurographics Association and featured in Leonardo. She has received numerous awards including the South Florida Cultural Consortium Fellowship and was nominated for the Rockefeller Foundation New Media Fellowship 2003. Knipp is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Visual Arts & Art History at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL.

The opening reception, exhibition, and artist talk are free and open to the public.