Untitled Application

Untitled Application is an interactive sound peice comissioned by MAAP and SAM for the Leeds Expo. Its an open air work hosted on one of the BBCs ‘big screens’, a range of large outdoor LCD displays in major cities of the UK. The peice itself was produced for the LEEDs Expo, a festival of sound art.

The work is a two part application. The visual part is written in C++ using openframeworks and opencv. It takes a council CCTV camera as a video feed and performs a series of motion tracking, blob detection functions on the input. Audience movement is used to trigger simple graphic elements on the screen which are superimposed on the camera image. People can generate interactive patterns through their physical movement across the city square.

The second phase of the system is a synthesis engine written in PD (puredata) which communicates via OSC to the C++ application. When a person triggers an animation in a particular area of the screen a message is sent to the synthesis app which plays an apporpriate tone. The notes are selected from three sets of harmonic scales and underpinned by a phased/droning 4 note sitar stye chord. The notes themselves alter pitch and timbre depending on the players behaviour and the generative variables in the synthesis system. Each of the three tonal sets rlates to a specific graphic style in the visuals.

It’s been great to see people playing with the peice and working out how to draw/compose with bikes, buggies, wheelchairs, skateboards and even spacehoppers.

Below are a few selected images/video from the process. Yet again, my poor documenting skills lead to me poaching other peoples recordingsof my own work! I am hoping to get some better material shortly.

openframeworks- opencv- blobtracking-osc-puredata pt2 from Tom Betts on Vimeo.

Prototyping with some jazz hands and a thousand yard stare.

Untitled from Tom Betts on Vimeo.

Compilation clip from setting up and live action. (The sound isn’t great on this camera)

One response to “Untitled Application”

  1. […] On the Sunday afternoon I checked out some of the installations. The Tom Betts piece on the BBC Big Screen in Millennium Square was lovely. Again, the explanation is incomprehensible, but this time it really didn’t matter. Every time I passed the installation over the weekend there were loads of people playing around with it, making sounds by moving together. One of the nicer things about the piece was that it seemed to encourage complete strangers to interact  unselfconsciously. Last time I was walking through the Square I saw a bunch of older guys in suits skipping in unison and joining in the fun with a couple of skateboarders . . . you don’t see that everyday in Leeds Town Centre. […]

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