Under the hood

Under the hood

Although there’s a lot of technology going on to make the Etiquette installation work, one of our goals is to avoid the cliches associated with much digital music and art. The installation is built in part out of old materials found on the site, the music is completely acoustic, and interaction with the installation we hope will be very tactile and intuitive with no obvious technology on show (beyond a table and some cardboard boxes). Of course, we realise some of you are techy geeks who might want to know how it works so here’s a brief summary…

The installation relies on a combination of off-the-shelf audio software and home-grown code to provide a natural and intuitive connection between objects placed on a table by members of the audience and the music heard in the gallery space. The underside of the table that is the centre of the installation is monitored by a video camera which feeds information into the reacTIVision visual recognition software. (This software is also the basis of the Reactable synthesiser which has recently been popularised by Bjork.) The output of this program is analysed by our own software developed in MAX/MSP to create an evolving interactive composition scattered throughout the quadraphonic soundscape of the gallery. Finally, the actual sound is generated by a commercial music package, Ableton Live, which is controlled by our software and processes and rearranges recordings we have made on location in the sculpture workshop.

Follow these links for pictures of the construction and recording process.