Guest post by Eliot Van Buskirk of Evolver.fm.
Music apps are for everybody to touch. Art installations are usually for nobody to touch, but not this time.
âCenter of Attentionâ (video below), on display last week in Los Angeles, presents a collection of cables hanging from a ceiling, which visitors could touch, twist, and connect to trigger all sorts of fascinating sounds. They can also touch each other, forging a body-to-body connection and altering the sound further.
This is the work of Luke Fischbeck, whose main musical project is Lucky Dragons (remix below). He created âCenter of Attentionâ at Sonos Studio, âan acoustically-designed gallery in the heart of Los Angeles that celebrates music listening,â run by the same company that makes those neat digital-music-for-the-home systems.
âAlthough it has elements of a live performance and it engages people and asks people to come interact with it and cooperate together, itâs really just an extension of the space itself,â says Fischbeck in the video below. âItâs a chance to respond to that kind of dual nature of connectivity â that itâs both something that is happening with the players streaming the sound, and itâs happening with people coming here and experiencing performances together.â
Hereâs the video:
Iâve witnessed Fischbeckâs work before, at shows where the audience members are encouraged to grab a cable, and then extend the connection to other audience members through their bodies, altering the sound that everyone hears. Hereâs how the system works, according to CoolHuntingâs interview:
âEach of the conductive ropes carries its own signal, a tuned circuit at an individual frequency,â explained Fischbeck. âWhen you touch a rope you carry that tuned signal on your skinâtouching another rope, or another person whoâs also touching a rope, will combine signals, creating combinations of frequencies that are turned into sound by the software. Different kinds of touch, from gentle tickles to full grasps, affect how much of each signal is combined, meaning that each point of contact contributes to the overall sound.â