‘Forest’ is the latest interactive installation by Marshmallow Laser Feast, London collective consisting of Memo Akten, Robin McNicholas and Barney Steel. Commissioned by and premiered at the STRP Biennale in Eindhoven, ‘Forest’ covers almost 450 square meters and is comprised of over 150 musical ‘trees’ made of rods and lasers. Controlled by openFrameworks and SuperCollider, the audience can freely explore the space, physically tapping, shaking, plucking, and vibrating the trees to trigger sounds and lasers. Interacting with the trees causes them to swing and oscillate, creating vibrating patterns of light and sound.
Rods are constructed of a baseplate, steel tube coated in silicon, and brass tip (which houses the laser) attached to the steel rod via a spring. Each rod contains a microcontroller that reads an accelerometer at the tip of the spring and controls power to the laser diode. Accelerometer readings are sent to a custom openFrameworks app on a host computer, which in turn determines which laser rods have been hit, triggers and spatializes the surround sounds through a SuperCollider script, and signals rods to be “on” or “off”. – (Thanks Devin, MLF tech production manager)
Forest exists as a tourable interactive installation, open to the public, and also a performance. The performance premiered at the STRP Biennale opening, consisting of 12 local children between the age of 8 and 12 years old. They were choreographed to move around the space, strumming and triggering the lasers and sounds.