Con.tact

The tactile modality is key for mastering and playing music instruments. But in our western society touch is one of the biggest taboos. Touching strangers is invading personal space, unwanted intimacy and can even be considered harassment. So what happens if you combine these two?

Two con.tact controllers with different materials as capacitive sensors

Two con.tact controllers with different materials as capacitive sensors

Con.tact stimulates physical touch through music. This playful improvisation tool can be used as an icebreaker to bring musicians closer, having a positive effect on communication and freedom of expression. Through live sampling and touch, the player can alter and loop pre-recorded samples, creating unique soundscapes. The soundscape can only be activated by touching others. This human-human interaction, mediated by con.tact, results in a temporary alternative reality where touching strangers is considered normal. When two controllers of Con.tact meet, the sound samples of both intertwine which gives surprising effects.

first iteration of capacitive sweep sensing on Arduino

first iteration of capacitive sweep sensing on Arduino

Con.tact uses capacitive sensing as technology. The capacitance of the touched subject affects pre-recorded sounds in a PureData patch. Every person has a different capacitance profile, thus the soundscape that the musician can make is never the same.

a screen capture of the PureData patch of two con.tact controllers

a screen capture of the PureData patch of two con.tact controllers

 

The cracklehack: an alternative of STEIMs original Cracklebox, the inspiration for this project. This was made as first exploration of touch and music.

The cracklehack: an alternative of STEIMs original Cracklebox, the inspiration for this project. This was made as first exploration of touch and music.