Earlier this year, Yuri Suzuki collaborated with QOSMO — one of the worlds leading AI experts — to create a “Sonic Pendulum”. This installation generates a calming soundscape that is continuously generated by the AI system in response to its surroundings.
The actual installation itself is comprised of three swing-set-like rigs, with a series of speakers hanging as pendulums. These pendulums swing back in forth in different, organic patterns that are regulated by the central algorithm. In this way, not only is the installation aural, but visual. Viewers experience the sound as an observable motion in space, and furthermore, as a physical feeling in their bodies. The swinging motion generates a doppler effect, changing the pitch of the perceived sound, and thus oscillating the resonation in the viewers body.
The central algorithm controls all the aspects of this system, creating a unique interaction, a conversation, with the viewers. A number of cameras and microphones are set up to register the sound level and population of the viewers. The central algorithm takes in this input and adjusts the oscillation pattern of the pendulums as well as the music being generated to match and respond to the environment.
I admire this projects interdisciplinary and inter-sensory nature. Yuri Suzuki seamlessly bridges music composition, design, and AI computer science in a way so that each informs the other. As a result the viewer can receive a much fuller experience… a much more impactful one, too. Suzuki intended this project to calm and relax its viewers, and he could not have achieved that goal to the same degree without the implementation of visual with audio, and the audio with physical sensation, all of which are conducted by the AI.
One last note about this project. I really admire Suzuki’s intent for the Sonic Pendulums to create a mindful space. I would like to see more and more of this kind of art in the future, using human advancements to further mental health.
For more information, and a cool demonstration of the project, here’s a link.