Reunion2012: A Novel Interface for Sound Producing Actions Through the Game of Chess

Tveit, Anders and Wilmers, Hans and Thelle, Notto and Bugge, Magnus and Johansen, Thom and Sæther, Eskil Muan

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

Reunion2012 is a work for electronically modified chessboard, chess players and electronic instruments. The work is based on—but also departs from—John Cage’s Reunion, which premiered at the Sightsoundsystems Festival, Toronto, 1968. In the original performance, Cage and Marcel Duchamp played chess on an electronic board constructed by Lowell Cross. The board ‘conducted’ various electronic sound sources played by Cross, Gordon Mumma, David Tudor, and David Behrman, using photoresistors fitted under the squares [1]. Reunion2012, on the other hand, utilises magnet sensors via an Arduino. Like in Cage’s Variations V, this resulted in a musical situation where the improvising musicians had full control over their own sound, but no control regarding when their sound may be heard. In addition to a concert version, this paper also describes an interactive installation based on the same hardware.