learning the ropes

things I made at ITP and after: sketches, prototypes, and other documentation

Monday, April 2, 2007

Final Project Proposal – A Series of Tops

Greg Stringer and I will create a series of musical tops which act as an improvised toy orchestra. Each top in the series creates a distinct and pleasing musical sound. As multiple tops spin simultaneously, their musical sounds will combine into a larger homogeneous sound. The sound of several tops spinning together will be unique and fleeting; it will be difficult to spin the same tops in exactly the same order at identical velocities.

I’m interested in systems which enable musical improvisation among people who have the desire to create music but lack the technical competence on a musical instrument. The musical tops present a low barrier to music creation; they are found in many cultures and require little skill to operate.

Spinning tops transform from one shape into another. No matter the starting shape of a top, once it rotates it forms the shape of a circle. In recycling, a similar process occurs. The designed shape of an object, after its operating lifecycle is complete, is transformed back into raw material and then back into a new designed object. The rotation of our tops will refer to this process.

The tops will be constructed from salvaged parts to highlight the theme of reuse and the cycle of products from raw material to designed object and back to raw material.

Several types of tops will be created to provide desired musical properties: percussive and melodic sounds.

posted by Michael at 9:08 pm  

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