is an interactive installation that uses a tank of water as an
interface for sound. Dip your hands in the tank, and the installation
whistles and hums. The water doesn't create the sound directly;
instead, an array of antique organ pipes resonate above the tank,
triggered by a video camera that analyzes pictures of the water.
(Complex but interesting solution!) Mocean was created by Maia
Marinelli, Jared Lamenzo, and Liubo Borissov (in NYU's Interactive
Telecommunications Program or ITP); I found out about it as I'm in a residency now with Liubo at Dance Theater Workshop here in New York.

I hope others try water-based experiments, too; I saw something
similar at a 42nd-street space called The Tank. Watching the video,
while the sound is eerie and lovely, I think I'm more taken by how
expressive the water itself is
. Other sensor solutions might make other
liquid interfaces create new musical sounds.

  • Guest

    Not digital, but Tan Dun's Water Passion After St. Matthew utilizes (amplified) large bowls of water as percussion, making use of all the wonderful slaps, drips, etc… possible from that. Cool piece.

  • admin

    Yes, the Tan Dun piece is gorgeous! And I've heard various other pieces with water bowls, etc. Water-filled percussion also makes a great sound, by bending the pitch of the instrument.

    This brings up interactions not possible if you restrict yourself to visual triggering:
    – water movement + accelerometers, etc.
    – recording the sound of the water itself

  • Guest

    they really missed out with this…it would be so more interesting if they had used a bathtub instead.

  • Guest

    thanks peter for bringing our project to internet fame — just learned about this post from friends who apparently read every you write.

    just wanted to let you know that the official site for mocean is actually
    with better video and documentation.

    this is the second incarnation of mocean and works better as an installation and a proof of concept.

    we are currently building mocean 3 — bigger and badder (yes, almost a bathtub) which is meant to be performed as an instrument and will premiere at the NIME'05 conference this may (

    mocean 2 is currently installed on the 4th floor of the Tisch School at NYU, which is generally open to the public if you say you are going to see the student works.

    thanks for all your comments,

  • Guest

    I thank you al as well and hope to see you at the 4 TH floor of Tisch… Please come play with water .


  • We've created and installed a number of musical instruments upon which you can play specific recognizable songs if you like (not just "random" sound making). The water itself produces the sound, and the instruments use pressurized water, coming from an array of water jets.

    You can search YouTube or Google Videos for "Hydraulophone",

    see, for example,

  • Since you guys ave been following the evolution of Mocean and OrganicInterfaces since day one i would like to post here the link to the video of our latest installation: Mocean #4.

    Here you can also find al the video of any version or prototype of Mocean ever created.

    Thank you again Maia.