“Roots” is an interactive installation for the Brick Table tangible and multi-touch interface, where multiple people can collaborate in making music in a dynamic & visually responsive environment. When a user presses their ﬁnger on the tables surface, a vine-like structure will branch out and generatively maneuver around the surface– actively triggering sounds and loops. Harnessing “multi-touch” technology, a single user, or multiple people can very quickly create dense and lush generatively evolving sound collages and compositions, simply by pressing their ﬁngers anywhere on the tables surface.
To give its users more control over the musical outcome, Brick Table also uses object-recognizing technology to take special physical or “tangible” objects, and use them to interact with the the randomly generating musical paths. Rotate the object clockwise, and it becomes an “attractor.” The further clockwise you rotate the object, the more attraction force it has, and the paths will gravitate closer towards or around it, resulting in the triggering of sounds closest to the attractor. Similarly, if you rotate the object counter-clockwise, it becomes a “repeller.” The vines will only come in contact with the sounds around the object, by a distance determined by the rotation angle / repelling force of the object. By using “Attractor” and “Repeller” objects simultaneously, users can intervene with the naturally evolving vine growth, and create generative systems that govern and inﬂuence the way the vines grow, and ultimately, the musical outcome. In addition to the amount of control the users have over the generative elements of the branching and musical composition, if the users move their ﬁngers, the vine will continue to follow the users movements, allowing the users to “draw” speciﬁc vine paths, dictating and translating the ﬁnger movements and location into direct visual and musical responses.
The user now has complete control whether or not they want to create a completely random composition rooting from where they ﬁrst pressed on the screens surface, setting up a semi-random and generative system to with a varying degree of inﬂuence, govern the movement of the vines and musical composition, or to remove the element of chance completely, and control the vine-growth and sounds simply by touching and moving their ﬁngers around the tables surface.
The software development for the “Roots” installation has been made possible in a collaboration between Brick Table’s creators and London based interactive designer / developer, Memo Akten.