The Room

The Room is a project I've been working on with a bunch of very talented programmers, musicians, artists and hackers as part of the Hack the Room evenings at The Edge Digital Culture Centre. The premise for the project is pretty simple: create something interactive and engaging with a box of Arduinos, Microsoft Kinects, Macbooks and fuelled with pizza.  After five weeks of workshops we built an interactive room that challenges audiences to achieve a zen state by working together. 

The only Zen you find on tops of mountains is the Zen you bring there”. Robert M. Pirsig

Andrew who created the sounds for the project said, "As a metaphor for a life full of shallow distractions, visitors will be encouraged to approach and engage various cause and effect installations around the room. The overarching theme of these distractions would be style over substance; the idea being more tantalising than the reality, the anticipation followed by a sense of subtle disappointment or emptiness."

The room builds on the work from the Synapse dubstep Kinect project, by extending the Openframeworks code and passing custom OSC messages to Max/MSP and Quartz Composer.  Instead of tracking individual body parts the installation tracks individual users, monitoring their speed and in kind the space reacts to this speed. Moving faster creates a chaotic cacophony of noise, matched by even stranger visuals, while slow movements or complete stillness reward visitors with ethereal sounds. A single Kinect mounted inside the space allows six people to be tracked and interact with the space at one time. 

The Room is an ongoing project at The Edge, and this is the first iteration. Some of us have already started reworking the code, moving away from the Synapse core and building on the ofxOpenNI library.