Bowers & Wilkins AM-1 loudspeakers were used in an innovative sound installation by Fred Deakin, where the audience became the performers.
The incredible Intravox installation at Central Saint Martins’ Lethaby Gallery in King’s Cross, London allowed visitors to create their own music using five large ‘alien’ heads – with all the sound coming through Bowers & Wilkins AM-1 loudspeakers.
Each head had its own ‘voice’ (bass, tenor, alto, beatbox and soprano) plus an additional sound that could be activated by moving a hand over the mouth or eyes. The idea being that as you interact with the heads, music is created.
The installation worked using Intel RealSense machines (innovative, new 3D cameras which can sense depth and movement), and really does make great use of this exciting new technology. The process worked by capturing users’ hand movements and mapping those on the corresponding face. There are some additional functions – for example, clenching your fist above the camera will muffle sound, and stretching your palm out will release it again – and the more people move their hands, the more notes they release.
Because Deakin, one half of Mercury Prize nominated Lemon Jelly, ensured that some control was maintained over the output, the sound produced remained musical. Rather than creating their own ‘music’ from scratch, people interacting with the heads actually remixed a piece of music already created by Deakin.