Playing with fire: Artist creates gestural music

20.12.2012 New York : Spandex : Gestural Interface

New York – Artist and musician Aaron Sherwood has developed Firewall, an installation that enables people to control music through gestures.

A stretched sheet of spandex is lit with a delicate pattern of vibrating lights that resemble fire. When someone presses the spandex, the lights ripple and the installation begins to play music, which changes tempo and becomes louder or softer depending on how deeply it is pressed.

The installation uses a Kinect motion sensor to measure the average depth of the spandex. The measurements are then translated into sound by an Arduino microcontroller programmed with an algorithm developed in collaboration with Mike Allison.

Sherwood writes that he discovered ‘the nearly endless possibilities of creative coding’ after meeting Pauline Oliveros, an early pioneer of electronic music improvisation tools. Firewall ‘provides a very expressive musical playing experience, even for people who have never played music before,’ says Sherwood.

Generation I, the next generation of digital natives, expect gestural, intuitive interfaces. To find out more, attend our Spring/Summer 2013 Trend Briefing.

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