Pole Dance – Interactive multimedia sound installation
Pole Dance is this year winning entry for the MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program (YAP) designed by Solid Objectives – Idenburg Liu (SO-IL) with interactive multi-media design by Arup and 2×4. The installation will be on view June 25 through September.
The dynamic, physical installation is an interconnected system of 30-foot-tall 2-inch glass fiber poles set in a 16-foot by 16-foot grid and connected by bungee cords that gently sway in response to the wind and the interaction of the audience, creating a continuous ripple of movement. The grid contains a number of playful activators, such as hammocks, pulls and mister-rings. An open net covering the entire grid system provides shelter and stabilizes the movement of the poles, preventing them from exceeding a predetermined maximum pivot. Multi-colored balls are suspended in the net offering areas of shade and the appearance of a communal, if undefined, game. At one point, the net drops down to the surface, surrounding a water filled pool.
SO-IL, Arup, and 2x4 collaborated to design and integrate an interactive media environment as part of Pole Dance. Eight of the fiberglass poles incorporate accelerometers – devices that measure the motion of the poles - and convert it to sound played back in the courtyard using MaxMSP. In the installation’s passive state, sound is generated by wind moving the poles or netting. As the audience interacts with elements of the structure – by pushing, pulling or shaking the poles or moving the beach balls or the net, modulated tones are generated. The tones have been specifically composed to blend with the sonic environment and to bring harmony to the soundscape in and around the museum. The installation is truly interactive with up to 8 participants able to simultaneously “play” the poles. In this way the installation becomes a multi-user instrument that can be shared by ensembles of visitors of all ages. Rapid and shallow movements create locally oscillating tones; movements made by leaning on the poles create a sound that ripples out into the rest of the garden as the network of connected poles are set in motion.
An interactive iPhone app allows visitors to affect the quality of sound for each pole in real time. By turning the effects levels up or down the audience can collaboratively vote to change the active sound of their environment. The application also collects the movements of the interactive poles sent out to the network by Max and visualizes the dynamic activity and movement within the installation in real time.