I recently contributed to the realization of an interactive installation based on the sonification of a wonderful work of art: let’s explore it. Pinot Gallizio (1902-1964) was a painter, a chemist, a poet, an activist and much more. We could define it a pure and pioneering artist, as well as one of the most genuine representatives of the situationism.
L’Anticamera della Morte (we can translate it as The Death Waiting Room) is one of his last and most captivating works. It is a total-black sculpture, made up of a large sideboard full of a wide plethora of objects. Each of them represents specific symbols of the artist life. His past, the places he belonged to, his interest for chemistry and art. Each object is painted in black, to symbolize the sense and the message of “everything is ending, now”.
The sonification project
Based on a project developed by Franz Goria (artist, musician, creative director and more), we created a gesture-reactive audio installation for the Anticamera della Morte.
La scatola nera e il suono dell’antimateria (we can translate it as The black box and the sound of the antimatter) is the title of the project. We made a precise tracking of the objects and shape of the sculpture and then turned the X-Y coordinates into a grid.
Each cell-object is linked to an audio sample. Visitors can trigger samples by standing in the front of the sculpture and by moving the hands in the virtual space. The audio samples have been created starting from numbers and codes representing the artist life, works and objects. In this perspective, the sonification give life to a new layer, a meta-meaning, a way for the visitor to interact with the sculpture and to discover more about the artist and his vision.
Where and when
The installation is housed in Spazio Gallizio – Centro Studi Beppe Fenoglio, located in the wonderful town of Alba, Italy. The project was unveiled in late September, the permanent installation will be available at the beginning of November. The project has been made possible thanks to the precious collaboration of Bianca Roagna, director of Centro Studi Beppe Fenoglio.
Bernard Blistène, Director of the Centre Pompidou, enjoyed the installation.
The technical side
The visitor hands are tracked by a (glorious) Microsoft Kinect V2. Data are sent to a custom Max/MSP patch that turns X-Y coordinates into trigger areas for sample start and stop.