Piano Migrations Works >

Bird Step Sequencer

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Created by Kathy Hinde in collaboration with Portuguese artist Ivan Franco, on a N.I.P. residency, at O Espaco do Tempo, Portugal in June 2008.

All the N.I.P. artists are in some way concerned with using technology in performance/installations. Being in such beautiful surroundings, we decided to all use the natural environment as stimulus for our work, whilst making space for collaborations and cross-overs between work to naturally emerge. I had been noticing the birds - especially at dawn and dusk. I was up very early one day and had decided to record the sounds of the birds and also make a timelapse film of the sunrise. However, just as I finished the film, I realised by slightly moving my camera, I had a perfect shot of birds landing and taking off from telegraph lines. It looked just like a musical score, just like the player piano rolls I’d been mapping images of birds and migration patterns onto. Ivan Franco suggested making a computer vision patch in MaxMSP to track the birds’ positions, to then be played like a step sequencer; similar to how a piano roll would be read. I fed prepared piano and music box samples into Ivan’s max patch, and the result was a very pleasing stand-alone audio-visual piece.

This work was then supported by www.interact.com.pt to be viewed at their online gallery.

Still from video
bird tracker
MaxMSP interface