Soundmachines [Arduino, Processing, Objects]

The Product, a Berlin-based design studio with a focus on objects, space and interaction, was commissioned by Volkswagen to develop a set of visuals for an interactive musical performance for the premiere of the New Beetle at the 2011 IAA motor show (September 15-25, 2011, Frankfurt am Main). What the client got instead was Soundmachines – a custom-built instrument for performing electronic music by DJing visual patterns on record-sized discs. Honk for ingenuity!

The development of the visual turntable trio was nothing short of a process, says Jens Wunderling of The Product in an email. "The initial commission called for a set of visuals for a performance entitled Connectivity, that was supposed to allow both the performer and the audience to contribute to the music. To achieve that the client proposed a camera tracking system analyzing motion in the audience. We realized pretty quickly though that the spatial and lighting conditions at the IAA Volkswagen area weren't suitable for what they wanted us to do." A different idea for engaging the audience was needed. Something playful and intuitive that young and old could easily interact with. "We had some vague conceptual ideas for visual turntables earlier. We really liked the elegance of the interface and at some point simply proposed to build them." So they did.

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