Dan Sakamoto

14 Jan 2016

“Play the World” by Zach Lieberman is a keyboard that plays snippets of sounds from radio stations all over the world. Each key plays sounds that roughly match its corresponding pitch, through a speaker that is in the direction of its broadcast origin, relative to the player. Additional feedback is provided by a map, which lights up at the origin of snippets as they’re played, and a small display showing the names of those locations.

I find “Play the World” interesting for the way it strikes a lovely balance between poetry and legibility. By making a keyboard the interface, the installation allows for creativity; Viewers are able to bring something of themselves to their experience, yet there is also something new to explore, and a clear way to do that. The piece avoids illegibility through the delivery of the content not being any more complicated than it needs to be. If, for example, the keys played snippets along a spectrum of moods, the affordance of the keyboard would be less effective; an layer of the artist’s void would be present, but the viewer would be one step more removed from content.

ofxCurl is an addon for invoking Curl from within an openFrameworks app. I’m interested in playing around with this as a way to get a local app that records photos or videos at an interval to be able to pass them off efficiently to a custom web app running on a server.