For Café Scientifique Amsterdam we developed the interactive installation “Your Musical DNA”. Visitors of the evening could logon onto Facebook or last.fm, after which their favorite artists were fetched from their profile. These artists were used to profile their musical taste, which was then represented by three bar codes, on which every line represented one of the visitor’s favorite artists. This representation was inspired by the concept of DNA gel electrophoresis: the profiling of DNA as a set of bars at distinct positions, representing the length of pieces of DNA that were cut at specific codons. The barcodes were automatically printed using a receipt printer. Consequently, every visitor that participated had a physical token of his musical taste that he could bring along and show to others.
Just as with DNA gel electrophoresis, ‘Musical DNA’ representing more similar subsets of artists, would have more similar barcodes. This was done using similarity ratings of the last.fm-API and some statistical Machine Learning-techniques such as Principal Component Analysis. Using a large poster, visitors could determine which lines on the barcode would point to which artists. Also, the vistors were encouraged to compare their receipt with other’s, checking out whether they had compatible musical tastes and to verify that the musical DNA of the metalhead is truly different from that of the indie hipster.
For the event ’Café Scientifique‘ at 7 November 2011 in club Bitterzoet, IJmerika developed an application that automatically creates crowd-sourced videoclips. At the beginning of the event, visitors are asked to ‘perform a cool movement’ and are then recorded using a videocamera. Later on the evening, the software creates automatic, procedrual music and a corresponding videoclip.
The recorded movements of the visitors are used as the source-material for a music video. As the music plays it triggers recorded filmclips of people jumping, smiling, yelling etcetera. Result of this is a visualization of the music, with the visitors as the main element.
The videoclip was showed during the pause between the speakers of the evening. Visitors were really attracted to the videoclip, as they like to see themselves and their friends and which ‘cool’ movement they came up with. It turned out to be a nice addition to the evening and a way to give the pause an interesting visual and musical twist.
For the Scientific Festival, at 11 and 12 October in Science Center Nemo, IJmerika developed an installation where a large group of people created a dance-clip together. This worked as follows: a dance performance to Katy Perry’s ‘California Gurls’ was pre-recorded. People at the festival could see this clip at a large screen. At a smaller setting, they could see a single frame (still) from the video. Over this single frame, they could see the image of a webcam for which they could perform a single pose. The goal for the visitor was now to exactly imitate the pose the dancer was making in this single frame at this specific time in the video.
As hundreds of visitors made a single pose of the dance, all these frames could be combined into a new video, in which the original dance is (in part) performed by hundres of visitors of the Scientific Festival. This video was created incrementally and on the fly. So if a visitor had posed, he could see him-/herself in the video showed at the large screen, as part of the dance, just a few minutes later.