Mesa Musical Shadows

IDEA: Control music with your shadow in public space.

WHAT: The 'singing pavement' is installed in the north plaza at the Mesa Arts Center in Arizona. True to it’s name, shadows cast within the sensor- and speaker-laden plaza trigger melodic and percussive sounds, allowing individuals and groups to engage in spontaneous exploration, play, and composition across the geometrically tiled surface. Morning, midday, evening and night scores were composed to reflect varying atmospheres and — pragmatically — shadow lengths throughout the day. The sensors constantly recalibrate themselves in order to define new threshold values to determine what is a shadow and what is not. And since one can’t count on there being shadows 24 hours a day (and sometimes it is overcast) sounds are also triggered when the sensors are stepped on.

The morning track, when shadows are still long and stretched out is slower and more ethereal; the midday track plays with very small shadows, and is made up of short percussive and dynamic sounds; the dusk track brings back longer sounds, for longer shadows that trigger a lot of elements at the same time, that bring together rich harmonies that compliment one another when they are superimposed.
— David Drury (sound designer)

WHY: Sound provides simple straight-forward rewards for the least engaged, or first time participants, but also allows for a gradual increase in the level of interaction as people choose to further explore. 

BY: Daily tous les jours and sound designer David Drury, at Mesa Art Center Arizona.

Sound – and in our case music – is of course a universal language, it helps us reach as wide an audience as possible. As an interface, it allows for immediate feedback, regardless of the time of day and speaks less to our cognitive brain and more to our emotions.
— Mouna Andraos (co-founder Daily tous les jours)