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Órgano – talking machine

October 2012 - March 2013
Laboratorio Arte Alameda Museum, Mexico City

Órgano is a talking machine featuring two different voice synthesizers. The first one is a text-to-speech synth whose input comes from a typewriter. The second one is a syllable-based sampler synth which is played via a midi keyboard. The voice generated by the synths is routed to 24 independent channels, each with its own chain of effects, thus enabling the possibility of unison or chorused voices. Physically these 24 output channels are distributed to 28 different several-meters-long metal pipes which rise from the organ’s enclosure (placed on a second story) and then descend onto a first level pointing towards the floor.

This interactive installation is part of the “Cinco Variaciones de Circunstancias Fónicas y una Pausa” exhibition by Tania Candiani. Technology development by Felipe Zamarrón, music and linguistics research/syllable mapping by Rodrigo Guzmán and Mariana Pérez, industrial design by Ricardo Casas, original idea and design by Tania Candiani.

(Skip to 7:20 on the Vimeo video for short demo).

How was MAX used?

All audio generation and processing were done through MAX. The sample-based synth was programmed with standard MAX audio and midi objects. For the TTS synth a special object was developed in C, integrating SAPI 5 into the MAX environment. Jitter and a webcam were also used for motion detection so that the organ would speak automatically to the passing audience in case no one was playing it.

Órgano – talking machine

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