matthew kaney

Play Space

Kinect-based musical installation. 2014

David Gochfeld and I created a space that plays music as people move within and through it. As each person enters, they are assigned an instrument. Simple movement and gesture trigger notes and adjust their pitch and dynamic qualities. In this way, public movement in a space becomes the score for a collaborative musical composition. The shape of that composition—soft or loud, harmonic or discordant—depends on everyone working with or against each other.

People move through public space according to social norms. By translating movement to music we open these habitual behaviors to examination and adaptation. As movement begets music, the feedback inspires new movement, breaking established patterns so new ones may emerge.

For instruction, we provide a simple directive: PLAY. We enourage people to try different movements: to walk, to jump, to twirl around, or to dance. Through playful experimentation, participants can discover the full range of their instrument's sound. By playing together, they can compose a symphony, and transcend their habits of movement and interpersonal interaction.