Tributaries of Our Lost Palpability

Mosher, Matthew and Wood, Danielle and Obr, Tony

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

This demonstration paper describes the concepts behind Tributaries of Our Distant Palpability, an interactive sonified sculpture. It takes form as a swelling sea anemone, while the sounds it produces recall the quagmire of a digital ocean. The sculpture responds to changing light conditions with a dynamic mix of audio tracks, mapping volume to light level. People passing by the sculpture, or directly engaging it by creating light and shadows with their smart phone flashlights, will trigger the audio. At the same time, it automatically adapts to gradual environment light changes, such as the rise and fall of the sun. The piece was inspired by the searching gestures people make, and emotions they have while, idly browsing content on their smart devices. It was created through an interdisciplinary collaboration between a musician, an interaction designer, and a ceramicist.