Interactive Music Turns Museum into a Funhouse

Space Palette by Tim Thompson allows visitors to create sounds and visuals. Photo by Na'im Beyah, Tech Museum of Innovation

San Jose’s Tech Museum of Innovation proves that science can be as much fun as, say, any arcade game with its interactive exhibit ‘REBOOT: Music.’ You can control sounds and images by touching, gesturing, even dancing.

The exhibit, which features sound-and-visual artworks from a slew of clever artists, continues at the museum through August 17.

Cuebit, by Lyès Belhocine and Drew Detweiler, is a typical charmer. Up to four players, I guess you’d call them, can manipulate boxes to control a fast-flowing sea of color and lines that crisscross on a light table in a darkened room.  

Tim Thompson’s Space Palette, like a theremin, allows you to play it by gesturing with your hands, creating visual effects as well.

Cuebit, by Lyès Belhocine and Drew Detweiler. Photo by Dave Weinstein

Light Orchestra, from Ka-Ping Yee and Benjamin James, uses a Kinect 3-D camera to turn human movements – dancing, perhaps – into a shimmering weave of light.

Feeling talented? The museum is hosting workshops as well. With a little ingenuity and a few microprocessors, you too could be making sweet music soon.

Black Eye
Stepping Tones, by Matt Sonic, Cory Barr, Rich DDT, and Paul Mans, involves drum pads and musical loops. Courtesy of the Tech Museum of Innovation.

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