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RHYTHM & BITS

2023

Few things speak to us on an emotional level quite like music does. The sense of music and rhythm is present in all of us from an early age. This enables music to be the universal, cross-cultural language that it is. Using abstract animations, this installation makes music visually tangible. The algorithm generating the motion images lets the visitors, as well as the played music interact with the visual content. Just like music itself, it offers space for an immersive and social experience.

Project Scope
Concept, Visual Content and Technical Execution of Installation
Logo and Wordmark

The trigger for my idea were encounters with music in everyday life. Concerts, live music in bars, or simply performances on a shopping street. This project aims to highlight the social aspect of music. In my perspective, its most powerful attribute lies in its ability to serve as the centerpiece of a social experience. The resulting installation offers space for this very thing.

A
B

Key questions to address concerned medium, visual content, interaction, and technical possibilities. The final concept includes two types of interactions. A movement-based interaction which lets visitors create new elements that gravitate to a visual center of attention (A), and a touch-based interaction that lets visitors interfere with the projected content by triggering visual glitches (B).

A helpful guiding principle for the concept of the installation was the notion of 'Social Objects'. Nina Simon defines it in her book on visitor participation in museums, 'The Participatory Museum', as objects or events that trigger interpersonal interactions. A shared focal point of attention not only facilitates interpersonal interactions but also triggers them. In her own words, she summarizes it as: "Social objects are the engines of socially networked experiences, the content around which conversation happens. Social objects allow people to focus their attention on a third thing rather than on each other, making interpersonal engagement more comfortable." Similarly, I incorporated a focal point of attention in the center of the projected content. This shared focal point, facilitating interpersonal exchange, supports the fundamental idea of the installation. To design interaction (A) in a socially engaging manner, it allows multiple people to interact with the visual focal point simultaneously. Visitors can create smaller elements through arm movements that are absorbed by the central element. As a result, this central element continues to grow while iteratively shrinking, ensuring it doesn't take over the entire room. The result is a cooperative interaction allowing for an increasingly striking visual appearance of the space with an increasing number of interacting visitors.

The visual aesthetic is influenced by the played music. I reflected the musical tonality in the visual design in order to create a harmonious experience. Factors such as the exhibition context influenced the choice of music as well. Since the interactions are meant to demand the most attention, I opted for songs that do not contain overly noticeable changes. The selected songs have a rather repetitive character and provide a pleasant acoustic background. The spatial context also guided the music choice in a similar direction. Smaller, intimate spaces like the installation room are a suitable platform for rhythmic music, unlike large stadiums or concert halls.

Selection of music played in the installation space

After completing the concept, the next step was making all the necessary decisions concerning the visual appearance. Finally, I implemented both the interactive functions and the visual apprearance into a node-based network in TouchDesigner. What you see projected on the walls in the final installation is the output of this network.

In terms of hardware, two devices had to be prepared for the interactive elements to work. This included a LiDAR-Sensor and a Kinect Sensor that were connected to the PC.
The planning of the installation's exhibition required consideration on how to make the best use of a limited space. To get a grasp on how many people it can accomodate and how they might interact with the space, I visualized it in real scale in Blender.

showcasing 'Rhythm and Bits' at 'Parcours' Vernissage as my final project at Münster School of Design
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