A camera observes small stones placed in black sand. A dedicated CPU interprets the images and triggers audio and MIDI arrangements in response.
I had a need for a device that let me choose audio contexts, like an Ableton Live controller, but was way more flexible and independent of commercial tooling or software. I also wanted to make use of some analog video equipment I had. After months of experimentation and working with aesthetics, Oracle manifested.
Side story Although I made this to perform by myself, it became a crowd favorite during an outdoor festival. The action is simply to place stones under the camera. When I let people try it for themselves, they were mesmerized and delighted. That ended up being more fulfilling to me than the actual performances.
Frequently Asked Questions
What inspired you to do this?
I create a lot of electronic instruments and need ways of playing them. They aren't traditional instruments mapped to a melody, so standard piano key based MIDI controllers are overkill and also visually uninteresting. I wanted a different way of triggering contexts instead of just notes.
How long did it take to make it?
How long have you been doing things like this?
4 years for this recent period of tech work, but multiple decades as an artist.
How much did this cost to do?
$100 at first, using surplus A/V equipment. Another $100 in miniaturization and finishing later.
Have you done other things like this?
I haven't built any other computer vision systems, but I have made a sequencer from a bicycle wheel.
What did you wish you knew before you started this?
I wish I knew how important flushing the serial bus actually was for constant signals.
Are there plans available to make this? Do you sell this?
No plans for this one. It uses too much obsolete hardware. I doubt people will want to deal with all the issues that come with processing analog video.
Maybe a tracker for a dancer.
The Video Experimenter from Nootropic Design is a crucial part of this. https://nootropicdesign.com/video-experimenter/
Lucidbeaming : Artist
Art and technology projects by Joshua Curry. Glitch aesthetics, repurposed obsolete hardware, programming, humanism, empowerment.
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