Turn off the options, and turn up the intimacy

“Although designers continue to dream of “transparency” – technologies that just do their job without making their presence felt – both creators and audiences actually like technologies with “personality.” A personality is something with which you can have a relationship. Which is why people return to pencils, violins, and the same three guitar chords.”

Brian Eno, The Revenge of the Intuitive

Cybraphon

Junkshop/steampunk social-network-enabled automatic music machine:

Cybraphon consists of a number of instruments, antique machinery, and found objects from junk shops operated by over 60 robotic components, all housed in a modified wardrobe. Its emotions are shown on a 100 year old school galvanometer; a motor-driven crank drives the bellows of an Indian classical instrument modified with 13 robotic servos; a switched fan pumps air through a Farfisa organ retro-fitted with robotic keys; 12 chimes are struck by suspended solenoids; numerous percussion instruments are hit by beaters attached to motors, including a cigar box with an integral spring “reverb”; and a purpose made vinyl record is cued robotically to play through antique brass gramophone horns. In addition to these musical components, Cybraphon has several internal light sources that are controlled on four fader channels, and infra-red motion detectors to monitor people watching it.

All these elements are controlled by a hidden computer via MIDI, DMX, and Arduino boards. And wire. Lots and lots of wire.

The computer runs custom software (coded in Python and MAX/MSP) to monitor the web and update Cybraphon’s emotions according to the rate at which its popularity is changing over time. All mentions of Cybraphon online that are indexed by Google are noted, as well as activity on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr, MySpace, and this very website. (cybraphon.com)

Via Grand Text Auto

Tenori-on

bmr243961

Tenori-on is an electronic musical instrument, designed and created by Japanese artist, Toshio Iwai and Yu Nishibori of the Music and Human Interface Group, Yamaha Center for Advanced Sound Technology. It consists of a screen, held in the hands, of a sixteen by sixteen grid of LED switches, any of which can be activated in a number of ways to create an evolving musical soundscape. The LED switches are held within a aluminum frame, which has two built-in speakers located on the top of frame, as well as a dial and buttons that control the type of sound and beats per minute produced. There is also an LCD screen on the bottom edge of the frame. Using the connection function, it is possible to play a synchronized session, or to send and receive songs between two of the devices. (Wikipedia)

See also: Monome