Baloica


Baloica, created by Elas Duas, is a temporary sound installation set at the old Convento das Dominicas in the city of Guimarães. A swing set was set up at the entryway of the convent and transformed into a musical instrument.

How did this project use Max?

We used Max running KLV Kinect Tracker, to detect human sized blobs with a Kinect (only swings with people on them were detected), then according to their position, sent midi notes to Ableton Live

Do you remember the first Max patch you ever made? What was it?

It was for another musical instrument of sorts, a hacked record player with a few photo-resistors that could be played by placing black chips on a white disk. It used maxuino to get information from the sensors to Max Msp that then triggered midi notes on Ableton Live. Here is a small video of it in action: https://vimeo.com/claudiaolive/lumiphone

How did you come up with this project idea?

We created this installation for an event where we knew there’d be all kinds of people stopping by, so we wanted to create something that would capture the imagination of the general public.
Whenever I’m trying to think of strong universal emotions I always go back to childhood memories where sensations and feelings seem to have had a stronger imprint on me, those memories are usually a good source material for project ideas.
I always loved the feeling of freedom one gets on a swing, and I also loved singing on them, so eventually an idea about musical swings popped up.

What sorts of problems did you have to solve?

It’s actually a very simple project, code wise. So most of the problems we had to solve had to do with learning how to tie weird knots to secure the swings, or finding a place to safely hang 3 swings without having to build a structure for them.
Also there was this old lady who lived nearby and thought someone was playing this really repetitive music just to annoy her. She was ok with it once she saw where the sound came from, but we couldn’t convince her to try the swings.

If there were one person who you would want to see your project, who would it be?

Can it be a dead person? I think Chaplin would have found it amusing.

At the conclusion of this project were you:
a) exhausted
b) ready to do a new one
c) thinking of ways to expand it
d) [other, please describe]

Grateful
I had never actually seen people outside the digital arts, design, music, interact with one of my pieces. I guess when you work on these kinds of projects you’re always looking to see how others were made instead of just enjoying them, myself being guilty of that as well.
But seeing regular people interact with the swings and the pure joy some of them experienced was really wonderful. I think it was the first time someone thanked me for creating something.