Enigmatica acts as an experimental platform for the combination of light, sound and space in order to develop immersive synthasthetic environments.
A series of suspended frames diminish in size down the length of the gallery acting as a canvas for the display of surface specific projected visual sequences.
By positioning the frames in a perfect series, and developing visualisations that are isolated to these frames, I aim to create a work that does not exist entirely in one or two dimensions but a form of synthetic hybridized space.
It is this constructed inter-dimensionality and the development of freely flowing abstract visual and sonic sequences that aims to demonstrate the potential for new forms of digital sculpture.

Curious Displays

The project explores our relationship with devices and technology by examining the multi-dimensionality of communication and the complexity of social behavior and interaction. In its essence, the project functions as a piece of design fiction, considering the fluctuating nature of our present engagement with media technology and providing futurist imaginings of other ways of being.

The Fragmented Orchestra

The Fragmented Orchestra is a huge distributed musical structure modelled on the firing of the human brain’s neurons. The Fragmented Orchestra connects 24 public sites across the UK to form a tiny networked cortex, which will adapt, evolve and trigger site-specific sounds via FACT in Liverpool.
Each of the sites has a soundbox installed, which will stream human-made and elemental sounds from the site via an artificial neuron to one of 24 speakers in FACT. The sound will only be transmitted when the neuron fires. A firing event will cause fragments of sound to be relayed to the gallery and will also be communicated to the cortex as a whole. The combined sound of the 24 speakers at the gallery will be continuously transmitted back to the sites and to each of the 24 sites.

Impress – flexible display

Impress is the deliverance of the touch screen from its technical stiffness, coldness and rigidity. It breaks the distance in the relationship of human and technology, because it is not any longer the user which is subjected to technology, but in this case the display itself has to cave in to the human. Impress is a chance of approach of user and technology, above all, from technology.
It is a matter of a flexible display consisting of foam and force sensors which is deformable and feels pleasantly soft. Impress works with the parameters position and time like other touch screens as well, but in addition to that, it reacts, above all, on the intensity of pressure.

Impress was developed by Silke Hilsing, a student at the department Design of the FH-Würzburg (Germany). No revolutionary tech. but good execution.



“Spamtrap” is an interactive installation piece that prints, shreds and blacklists spam email. It interacts with spammers by monitoring several email addresses I created specifically to lure in spam and an old unused personal email address I use to lure in spam. I do not use these email addresses for any other communication. I post these individual email addresses on websites and online bulletin boards that cause them to be harvested by spambots and then to start receiving spam.
Because I know that all email sent to these email addresses are spam, I have set the installation to print and then shred each email as it arrives. Simultaneously the installation is feeding spam blacklists on the web with information gathered from all the received spam (a newly added feature). This in turn helps to feed spam filtering systems across the web that are working to reduce the amount of spam we all receive. Click here for more information about Spamtraps.
The installation uses a Pentium II computer connected to a wireless network, personal printer, personal shredder, aluminum rails, Spamtrap email addresses, automatic printing software, email client software, antivirus software, and a SpamCop user account. The paper is recycled after the spam email has been shredded.

Spamtrap. Watch the video documentation.
Loosely related to my Traffic sound art installation.

Guten Touch

Designed for the Red Bull Music Academy 08, Guten Touch is an interactive installation that involves people into a natural relationship with technology. A two projected display system plus a 3m x 2m multitouch wall showcase applications designed to engage us into human friendly experiences rather than flashy and jaw-dropping visualizations. Space Invaders hitted by foam balls, pixel paintings created with brushes and digital objects holded by hands try to blur boundaries between real and digital.

Concept, Design and Coding by Multitouch Barcelona. Music: Saeglopur – Sigur Ros

Gravity – Interactive installation

Gravity is a collaborative application using buildings’ architecture as a projection surface.
This real time interactive animation allows people to send sms text messages to the installation. The words are then embedded into geometric shapes, and are dropped from the top of the projection. The fall as well as their collisions with the building’s environment are physics-driven, making interactions happen between the different sent messages, creating an open participative “exquisite corpse” scene where spectators can react to each other’s sentences.
Original creation and code by Julien. Sound effects by Arnaud.

Forever at the Victoria & Albert Museum

Forever at the Victoria & Albert Museum from Universal Everything on Vimeo.
I wish I could see this. Universal Everything has installed a piece in the John Madejski Garden at the Victoria & Albert Museum. It’s entitled ‘Forever’ and consists of a large video wall displaying endless animations responding to an ever changing soundtrack.

Forever is an art project formed from generative music and generative visuals and is a commission for the museum’s new digital programme,” explains Schmidt. “Simon Pyke has composed the music and sound – he’s created hundreds of different soundscapes, drums, all in the same key so that anything can be mixed together. It will evolve over the two months it’s on, so you’ll never hear, or see, the same thing twice. It’s based on the same kinds of micro-patterns as Mozart’s generative minuets, but on a more detailed level. When the sound is intense it will trigger pulses on the visual side and visual elements will also feed back into the music.

Via CR.

Open Source DIY MP3 player

Wow, the Sakura open source MP3 player kit opens up all kinds of possibilities for installation projects.

For around $30 in parts and a good amount of patience, you can have a completely open source and hackable mp3 player ready to go. It can be modified to accept serial commands, be embedded in an art project, used as the voice of your next smart talking robo-sidekick, or filled with music and used as is. Put in whatever size card you want, up to the theoretical limit of the MMC format! All the source and schematics are here for free as part of the Creative Commons. I have kits available if you don’t feel like scavenging for the parts yourself.

The Sakura: The World’s Simplest Open Source DIY MP3 player!

Nyein Chan Su’s Energy of Lightness Installation

Nyein Chan Su was born in 1973 in Rangoon and studied at the State School of Fine Arts from 1994. He has participated in several shows inside Burma as well as in Japan (1999), Hong Kong (1999) and Singapore (2000).
He describes “Energy of Lightness” as:

A heavy, solid, spiny and dangerous object hangs over the fragile balloons below. When the rope is released, the object will fall and crush the balloons. Or, perhaps the balloons will disperse and escape the impact of the spiny object.

Gallery Link

Adult chairs exhibited in Taipei

Never underestimate the power of fun.
Today one of my tangible interface experiments is being exhibited in Taipei as part of some industry showcase – apparently the President of Taiwan is going to have a look though after yesterday’s election I doubt he will have much enthusiasm for the fun my piece seems to provide. The continued quasi-popularity of Adult Chairs always suprises me as it was without a doubt the simplist interface I had made. I think it proves how important simplicity, discovery (surprise), and fun can be in creating these type of products (interfaces). At least in the context of everything else that was being produced by the company.
Adult chairs were shown in a greater exhibition I had back in January and were a part of a project I was running called smenms. They were very simple prototypes which consisted of 7 pressure sensors (couldn’t afford 8) hidden in 4 pillows which when activated controlled a simple parameter of music. I wanted to embed sensors in ordinary objects which would allow people to interact with music and sound with a form that had a completely different use. It was hoped that by making the interface invisible and a part of ordinary objects we could invoke a sense of wonder, surprise, and hopefully engage people in the creation of sound and music in a whole new way. The whole project followed an iterative project development cycle, with every cycle producing an increasingly expressive musical interface. This was a slightly different version of the first iteration which utilized a simple on/off interaction metaphor. In first experimenting with different sounds, music, and parameters in which to control (I originally wanted people to control wildly different parameters but no one found it fun – it sounded too “post modern”) I finally settled on controlling the volume of separate pre-composed tracks. I was disappointed in the amount of expression but the audience was enthused – perhaps the lively music I wrote and produced carried the day.
Yesterday Chientai and I were setting it up for likely the last time. I will miss projects like this.
Here is an example output of the song the chairs controlled called Sit and Dance.
More info. here and a related article which perhaps should have been the title of this one Never Underestimate the Power of Fun.

Exhibition challenges

Our exhibition Quiet Please! has brought some interesting challenges which in the busy blur of period leading up to opening day I hadn’t given much thought to.
One of the biggest challenges is maintaining the integrity of the exhibits. The gallery is new and while supportive doesn’t have a great deal of experience hosting these kind of works. The installations use a lot of sensors, projectors, and workstations which require some training to even get them working. It’s nothing too complex of course but minor errors can delay the start of an installation. The cultural bureau manages to keep a member of their staff on site everyday, something I find pretty remarkable as the mind numbing cold and boredom must take it’s toll on their patience. This means one of the team must sit there as well everyday. Something I hadn’t counted on.
We have made one very simple mistake and it’s a mistake made on just about every project I have been apart of in Taiwan. It’s not a problem unique to Taiwan though but perhaps more evident. We didn’t really have a concrete plan in terms of the design of the installations beyond opening day and we didn’t have enough time for adequate testing. Our focus was to make sure everything worked for that day and I guess we thought the following days and weeks would take care of themselves. Problems have arisen with some of the software – problems which are difficult to address especially since it’s pretty hard to motivate people to continue working on something when they have already given so much. A lot of our work needs to be interacted with and luckily no major problems have arisen. But right along side the interactive works are the ones that require passive listening. The experiences are too close together and the sounds bleed together. You need space between the two, especially with children, to allow people to adjust to these two different modes.
Years of performing has ingrained in my mind the concept of performance – weeks of preparation resulting in a single or series of concerts. To have to have that same level of preparation and to have maintain the same level of quality day in and day out is a new challenge.