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Image by DJ Pangburn &Basile Shingu
text: DJ Pangburn — May 20 2016

Remix Grimes with Your Bare Hands Inside an Interactive Installation

Making music or sound art into an interactive experience is nothing new. REIFY’s 3D-printed sound sculptures can turn musical data into a material reality, while the Sand Noise Device, which debuted in 2014, allows users to make generative music by moving objects around an augmented reality sandbox. But with Realiti - Inside the Music of Grimes, a new interactive sound installation at Moogfest 2016, festival goers and fans are remixing Grimes’ track “Realiti”—with their bare hands.

The interactive installation, powered by four Microsoft Kinects arranged at the space’s four corners, allows participants to manipulate the song by touching black netting which hangs from the ceiling to the floor. The movement of the hands against the mesh, which is illuminated by multi-colored LED lights, allows the four Kinect devices to pick up the motion and turn it into 3D data, which then allows people to remix the various elements of “Realiti.”

The effect is not so much visual as it is sonic. So the Realiti experience is, at its core, sound art, though of course festivalgoers look quite mesmerized while using their hands and bodies to collectively remix the track.

“Moogfest is a destination for innovative creators to share new ideas, so it felt natural to bring Realiti - Inside the Music of Grimes to the festival,” says Amy Sorokas, Director of Brand Partnerships at Microsoft Brand Studios. “With this installation we’re exploring the unexpected ways that technology can enhance the music experience and are hoping to inspire the community.”

Created by Microsoft’s Music x Technology program, the Kinect system was first used in DELQA, an installation at the New Museum in New York City, which invited the audience to participate in a collaborative experience of manipulating music by electronic artist Matthew Dear.

Realiti - Inside the Music of Grimes runs at Moogfest until May 22.