A Baroque church in the city of Olomouc in the eastern Czech Republic might seem an odd choice of an object to be turned into an advanced musical instrument. Over the last few years, the Macula project (a partnership of 3 Czech techno-artists) has been creating remarkable large scale animated projections on interesting architectural structures. Most of these are programmed performance events, but in the case of Archifon I (which name suggest future sequels) the installation is a real-time interactive musical instrument. As they say on their Vimeo site:
“Architectonical objects are re-interpreted by virtual layer via projection and sound. It is possible by mapping the virtual surface on the chapel’s interior. Up to ten visitors at a time can interact with the Archifon through the laser pointers. By pointing on any of more than 100 elements different audiovisual actions are initiated.”
The laser pointers don’t merely trigger events. They can be used to program drum sequences and to control effects sliders. With a lot of people playing, it could be pretty chaotic, but with practice an intention, devices like this may have potential for more controlled composition.
The video speaks for itself: