Intriguing installations and vibrant interplays from Sónar+D 2023
At the intersection of creativity, technology, and our shared human experience, Sónar+D 2023 has showcased a multitude of groundbreaking projects that challenge and redefine the frontiers of design and interaction
From an AI-driven brain-computer interface to a light installation advocating sustainable habits, the projects showcased at Sónar+D 2023 emphasize the transformative power of design in navigating contemporary challenges. Each project, in its unique way, highlights the evolution of interaction design, pushing the boundaries of human-device relationships.
These initiatives are a testament to how product and interaction designers are navigating in an era where technological interfaces intertwine with human intuition and creativity, carving out immersive experiences that resonate on both intellectual and emotional planes.
Hinemosu 30 by Yuichiro Katsumoto
Yuichiro Katsumoto introduced Hinemosu 30, an intriguing piece that marries technology and traditional design motifs to represent life and time. Five elastic bands manipulated by thirty actuators are the primary elements of this kinetic typography installation.
The bands twist and contort to display a variety of motion graphics, including textile patterns, ocean waves, and snowfall motifs. The servo motors’ mechanical noise further adds a natural ambiance, mimicking the sounds of wind and water.
Key to Hinemosu 30 is the exploration of how computers might control linear, non-discrete physical objects. The project offers a fascinating departure from the pixel-based representation typically used by computers. Here, the lines of varying thickness can showcase not just graphics, but also Arabic numerals and Roman alphabets.
The materiality of Hinemosu 30—a thoughtful selection of elastic bands, servo motors, and microcontrollers—along with its focus on linear forms like ribbons and tapes, offers a fresh perspective on dynamic design, emphasizing the potential of kinetic typography to create a visually engaging experience.
DIALOGO by BLO QUE
DIALOGO embodies an innovative blend of sound art and visual mechanisms, exploring the dynamic relationship between technology and nature, order and chaos.
DIALOGO is a conversation inspired by the “Bow-Wow” theory concerning the origins of language, where phonemes are believed to stem from the imitation of sounds in nature. In the heart of this conversation are four hand-crafted, motorized devices, each translating human voice into motion.
These devices visually represent speech by converting voice waveforms into animation curves, which in turn, control the sculpture’s movements.
The visual and auditory cues generated from this intriguing project do not align in a conventional sense, hence fostering new associations and evoking an array of sensations. In essence, DIALOGO uncovers the harmonious chaos underlying human emotions, language, and nature.
Constructed in Madrid, with meticulous attention to design detail, the project is a testament to BLO QUE’s dedication to innovation and exploration in the realm of interactive design. The inclusion of Banjo Soundscapes in sound production further enhances the immersive experience of this masterful, technology-driven display.
ENAKD by Neuroelectrics, TOE and Starlab
Neuroelectrics’ pioneering project, ENAKD (Emotionally, Electronically Naked), pushes the boundaries of our understanding of emotions. Using an EEG device called Enobio to capture brain wave data, it converts these intricate electrical patterns into emotional states, manifesting as Valence and Arousal.
This transformative technology allows the audience to emotionally connect with a performer in real time. By integrating a large language model like ChatGPT, ENAKD turns the detected emotions into evocative images and haikus, offering a profoundly innovative form of emotional communication.
Beyond its artistic applications, this affective brain-computer interface presents limitless opportunities in numerous fields. Whether it’s controlling robots, composing music, or even creating Neurotwins—digital replicas of our brains—ENAKD illuminates the exciting future of neurological applications.
Its potential in diagnosing and treating various neurological conditions underlines the immense significance of this breakthrough.
Slow light by IED Barcelona
Imagined by IED Barcelona‘s students across Design, Graphic Design, Product Design, and Motion Graphics, “Slow Light” employs mobile phone flashlights. Drawing attention to the effects of light pollution, this circular structure counteracts the obscured view of the stars.
Upon scanning a QR code, visitors can download a musical rhythm, a soft and enveloping soundtrack created for the experience. Utilizing the flashlights on their phones, visitors illuminate the ends of eight tubes, simulating telescopes, that project constellations and the evolution of the life of a star.
In line with the installation’s name, “Slow Light” advocates for a ‘slow life’ philosophy. Constructed with recycled or rented materials, this eco-conscious design emphasizes inclusivity, with tubes placed at varying heights to encourage universal participation.
AI-terity by SOPI Research Group by Aalto University
AI-terity, a brainchild of SOPI Research Group from Aalto University, pioneers in the realm of artificial intelligence-enhanced musical instruments. This deformable, non-rigid instrument integrates a unique AI model, generating relevant real-time audio samples to transform the way music is synthesized.
With a focus on stiffness and physical deformability, AI-terity unfolds a new audio experience triggered by handheld physical action. This action alters the control parameters in sample-based granular synthesis, creating new audio samples dispersed across the instrument’s surface.
The interplay of human performance and the digital instrument results in timbre changes in sonic space, crafting a digital relationship with sound-making and control actions. This marriage between human manipulation and AI-assisted response offers performers a new dimension of musical expression.