Tombeau is a work of art placed nowadays in the MahN (Musée de l'art historique de Neuchatel) in Switzerland. It has been created by Martin Widmer. His goal with this artwork was to create a machine which always records sound, if there is anybody around or not, storing it in this highly modern styled 'Tombe'. Sound also exists when there is nobody around. We have proof of that. The recorded sound stays within the 'Tombe', which is also where all the mechanics are staying. Nothing will ever leave the 'Tombe'.
Sometimes people come especially to Tombeau to sing a song for it, visual feedback of the recorded sound is given by a RWE soundstudio-grade VU meter. For the convenience of the person trusting it's sound to the machine, a little chair has been incorporated in the design.
The object was made with Gentoo Linux running on a Nano-ITX (12x12cm) pc board, using a sound program piped to an OGG compression program to record and compress sound, which is recording all day. The recordings are made into chunks of about six hours, and stored on an external raid drive of 750GB. The compression gives place to something like 7 years of continous sound in mono OGG quality. After these seven years the disks can be replaced with the then avalailable sizes, which will probably be around 3 Terabyte, good for another 30 years... All of 'Tombeau's' specs have been made as much as possible with the future in mind, to keep compatibility time as long as possible.
The Linux Operating System has been placed in an archived form onto a bootable CF card. When the machine is running, the whole operating system will unpack and exist in the volatile memory part only. Like that the OS will never really suffer from a power failure, because there are no moving parts like on a hard disk. The machine will just restart, unpack the OS, and start it in memory again. On a separate partition of the CF card all the configuration files reside, so it is easy to change things like IP, gateways, and email address settings in case of the Tombeau being moved.
In case something goes wrong, Tombeau will send an email telling what happened. If all goes right, every week it will send an email with it's status, telling for instance how big a part of the disc has already been used.
Martin Widmer & Jeroen Visser just after the completion of the Art Work on it's first exhibition in the CAN Neuchatel 2007