Celestial Mechatronics

CONCEPT, SOFTWARE, INTERACTION DESIGN AND ARTISTIC CONTENT:
Åsa Unander-Scharin
Carl Unander-Scharin
Ludvig Elblaus



Over the years that they have collaborated on projects, Carl Unander- Scharin, Åsa Unander-Scharin and Ludvig Elblaus have often explored how movements and gestures are transformed into music/voice/sound which in turn transforms the movements of the person who hears and interacts with the installations and “instruments”, respectively.

Il Pleut/It’s Raining Voices

“It’s raining women’s voices” are the opening words of Guillaume Apollinaire’s poem Il Pleut/It’s Raining. In this interactive musical installation visitors themselves can let both men’s and women’s voices rain through the air.

The container filled with water that is exhibited in the foyer of the Berwald Hall has been specially constructed and functions concretely as a doorway to a sound world where Apollinaire’s poem is recreated through the visitor’s interaction with the surface of the water.

Raining voices and undulating sounds are heard if ripples disturb the surface of the water. The way the water is treated is reflected in the sounds that are created – gentle, harsh, dripping or sweeping: everything plays a part in the sound that is produced.

When the surface of the water is touched a kind of synthesis of sounds arises, since the actual sound of the water blends with a collage made up of sound material recorded during the process of composing Calligrammes. Carl Unander-Scharin, Åsa Unander-Scharin and Ludvig Elblaus thus give us a glimpse of the creative process that precedes a première.

In this interactive musical installation we can hear tonalities and text fragments from the compositional process. Together with the concrete sound of the water they create a kind of soundscape with which the visitor can interact.

Liens/Bonds

With his Calligrammes Guillaume Apollinaire created figurative poems where the typographical appearance also illustrated each poem’s theme. The name in itself is a

combination of calligraphy and ideogram (a graphic sign that represents a word, as for instance % for per cent).

The interactive musical installation Liens consists of four cords that are stretched from floor to ceiling. By pulling the cords the visitors perform an audio-visual piece that is heard through the loudspeakers and is also projected as a moving image on the wall – a kind of Gesamtkunstwerk inspired by Apollinaire’s figurative poems, and in this specific case by the poem Liens. The sonic material includes voices that sing passages from this particular poem.

The cords are rolled up on cushioned wheels that can sense touch to an extremely high degree. This makes them an excellent instrument for exploring small, subtle nuances, both in sounds and in images. Smaller or larger movements thus produce a variety of effects in the musical and visual expression.

Liens is the latest variant of an interactive musical installation which has been developed in close collaboration during the last twelve years by Carl Unander-Scharin, Åsa Unander- Scharin and Ludvig Elblaus. The technology in the latest version is quite new, or as the three developers say: the mechanical heart is completely new and much better than the previous one.


Un Oiseau Chante/A Bird Sings

With Un Oiseau Chante Guillaume Apollinaire became part of a long tradition of figurative poetry with birds as its theme and also its typographical form. As early as 300 BC the Greek poet Simmias of Rhodes is reported to have written two or three poems laid out in the form of birds.

In this interactive musical installation three sculptural figures observe those visitors that choose to catch the eye of these observers. The observers analyse the movements of the visitors and transform them into voices that alternately whisper, whistle and sing fragments from Apollinaire’s poem Un Oiseau Chante.

The sounds of the observers’ answers vary in character depending on the nature of the movements observed. Large, vigorous movements give the sound more energy compared to small, slow movements. Visitors will notice that their physical movements result in different sounds – which in turn influence the visitors’ physical actions. It is thus a physical-musical interaction, not a one-way communication.

If the camera eye of the observers cannot detect any movement they stop playing and singing.


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