PIANO (Performance Interaction and Augmented Noise Object) by John Ferguson and Mauricio Iregui.

PIANO is an instrument that revolves around a computer, a projector, an infrared (IR) camera and IR lighting, built-in speakers, and a number of objects fitted with fiducial symbols. The camera detects IR light reflected by the symbols and ignores light from the projector. The location of physical objects and their angle of rotation is mapped to various audio parameters. PIANO is influenced by the work of Sergi Jorda, particularly tabletop interface The Reactable.

PIANO on Scope TV December 2017 from Music Technology QCGU on Vimeo.

The current era is obsessed with technological miniaturisation and online communication, but before the emergence of radio and TV (etc) the upright piano was commonly found in homes and social scenarios (such as pubs). PIANO investigates the cultural omnipresence of the upright piano and explores the creative possibility of an instrument of similar size and scale. Adopting this sizeable footprint allows the interactive potential of digitally-augmented physical objects on a large-scale ‘canvas’ in a range of social situations to be explored. Rather than relying on a 1-1 relationship between humans and their technologies and an invisible connection via the internet (such as is the case with a smartphone), PIANO investigates the potential of digitally augmented objects that can be performed by multiple people simultaneously in a variety of social settings.  

In 2017 PIANO @ Sonic Playground was presented at World Science Festival Brisbane as part of 100 Ways to Listen. PIANO was also presented at the national conference of Museums Galleries Australia and Ferguson was filmed demonstrating PIANO and various other devices for ScopeTV, which was broadcast nationally in Australia via Network Ten and archived online. In 2018 100 Ways to Listen won the Queensland State award and was a finalist in the national APRA AMCOS Art Music Awards in the Excellence in Experimental Music category.

The PIANO @ Sonic Playground installation revolves round audible beating, which occurs when two independent sine waves are very closely aligned in frequency and a degree of phase cancelation occurs, resulting in the creation of a rhythmic pulse.

Links to online documentation