Mapping projections to architecture, and connecting music to visual metaphors are nothing new. But many of these projects leave the control to performers; audience members simply stand back and watch. In a project for HP promoting their TouchSmart PCs, interactive artists ceded that control to participants. Instead of the computers being in the hands of the performers, they’re touchable by anyone, for an open, collaborative experience of the work.

The project makes use of a number of ingredients. The HP TouchSmart PC provides a big, touchable display, much larger (though less mobile) than a tablet like the iPad. On the software side, custom interfaces for the participants manipulate sound and visuals built in not one but two visual programming languages: Max/MSP and (Windows-only) TouchDesigner.

The project is the work of two firms, Waveplant and Leviathan. Joel Corelitz writes from the Waveplant side to share the work with CDM readers:

My company (Waveplant) collaborated with Leviathan to create an OSC-controlled projection mapping installation for HP to promote their TouchSmart line of PCs. Participants controlled the sound and visuals via the PCs with custom-created OSC interfaces (in TouchDesigner). Max/MSP was used to drive the audio and the visuals.

I was responsible for all the audio creation as well as the Max/MSP programming, and Leviathan created the visuals and handled the projection mapping.

Just to reiterate – Leviathan is the company that’s responsible (amongst many other things) for the visual component of Amon Tobin’s ISAM tour. My company / personal brand Waveplant was responsible for all the audio in this project as well as the maxMSP programmed back-end that was responsible for the live audio interactivity. Leviathan designed interfaces in TouchDesigner that transmit information to Max/MSP. Max/MSP would respond with audio in various ways while sending OSC information back to those interfaces and TouchDesigner which reflected those musical changes visually.

As an artist, I’m really excited about these kinds of marketing efforts. They’re incredible opportunities to push creative boundaries and subvert the more “linear” forms of advertising that we’re used to. What’s also really unique about them is the way they let the art stand on its own while at the same time involving the product in a hands-on (literally) capacity.

Here’s an extended documentary of the project, with requisite shots of Chicago’s famous L train. (For some of you, that should cause a Pavlovian hunger for deep dish pizza.)

More information:

Agency for this project: