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Ping (2003, rev. 2007)

Rebekah Wostrel (ceramics) and Ted Coffey (computer music)

Interactive sound sculpture composed of paper porcelain, light sensors, digital computers, and speakers.


Artists’ Description:

Ping is an interactive sound sculpture, the first collaborative work by Rebekah Wostrel and Ted Coffey. We wanted to combine ceramics and technology to make something that looks and sounds beautiful, and whose distinct character reveals itself only through your active involvement. In an important sense, Ping is a human-computer interface—like a mouse. As much as in the views and fields of sound Ping offers, its aesthetic values are to be found in the quality of interactions you have with it.

How it Works:

Inside each of the paper porcelain cones you see is a photoresistor that measures how much light falls on it. They take turns sending these measurements a few times per second to a dedicated microchip, where they are converted into MIDI (‘Musical Instrument Digital Interface’) data. That data is sent to an Apple laptop, where sounds are synthesized in the Max/MSP music programming language and placed in a stereo field. When a person moves his/her hands above the surface of the dome, a stream of computer generated sound correlated to this movement issues from two loudspeakers. The sounds vary in pitch, timbre, volume and position in the stereo field, according to the speed of the hand and its distance from the cones. Thus people create their own unique, real-time compositions.

Watch a video of Ping.