CoSiMa Sonar Innovation Challenge @ Sonar+D

CoSiMa has participated at the Sonar+D international conference on creativity and technology of the Sonar music festival in Barcelone with a Sonar Innovation Challenge. A team of 5 musicians, designers, and developers – formed over a month before the event – has worked two and a half days on a music application dedicated to a public interacting collaboratively through their smartphones. The web-based application has been developed with the Soundworks framework.

SIC-app-weatherThe resulting application is Weather, a performance for a DJ and a public participating through their smartphones. As usual in performances based on the Soundworks framework, participants connect their smartphones to the local CoSiMa Wi-Fi network and visit the web page of the Weather application. Once connected to the application, the participants can play with four gestures to switch between different weather states that are associated to different sound textures and visualizations generated on their mobile devices: (1.) Touching the screen generates the bird chirps of a sunny afternoon, (2.) swaying and tilting the device generates wind, (3.) shaking it softly generates a rain sound and rain drops on the screen, and (4.) shaking it harder generates thunder sounds and lightning on screen.

The sound generated by the participants creates a sound textures distributed over the audience. The current weather states of all clients are collected on the server to generate a weather profile that controls visuals on a public display and environmental sounds on the PA. In addition, the weather profile is interpreted by a DJ playing live electronic music in dialog with the audience’s sound textures.

The five CoSiMa SIC challengers who developed the Weather performance are Matthew Bethancourt, Andrés Ferraro, JP Carrascal, Chaithanya Jade, and Yuli Levtov.

Hack the Audience @ MTF Berlin

CoSiMa participated at the Music Tech Fest in Berlin with a workshop « Hack the Audience » featuring the Soundworks framework. In two days, mai 26 and 27, we developed two performances in which the audience participates with their smartphones : MTF Orgy and GrainField. In both performances, the audience connects their smartphones to the CoSiMa Wi-Fi network and visits a given webpage to participate.

In MTF Orgy, each participant controls the intensity and detuning of two harmonics of a distributed additive synthesizer – the Orgy organ – by tilting their smartphone. The lower harmonics are generated on the PA and the higher ones on the participant’s mobile devices. A musician on stage plays chords on a MIDI keyboard that determine the fundamental frequencies. Other musicians can join the performance. At the MTF performance, we were accompanied by Steve Lawson on the bass.

In GrainField the smartphones enable the participants to play with the granular synthesis of 2 secs of sound recorded from a percussionist sitting in the middle of the audience (see images below). The system records every second 2 secs of sound that are send to the smartphones of the audience so that the sound a participant plays with changes every 8 seconds. The sound generated by the participant’s smartphones can be perceived as a distributed granular echo of the percussionist’s performance without any other amplification.

In addition, we presented the CoSiMa project in a brief talk and performance with the audience playing birds and drops on their smartphones.


Electrosound @ EDF Foundation

CoSiMa is represented in the Electrosound exhibition at the EDF Foundation with two small installations. One documents the participative concert Chloé ⨉ Ircam and the other is a downscaled version of Collective Loops.

The installation that refers to the participative concert we created with Chloé, is based on the same technical setup and music track as the Terminal installation and features 14 wall mounted smartphones. As in the concert and the Terminal installation, the public can connect to the installation to participate using their mobile devices.


Collective Loops is shown in a reduced version with eight smartphones mounted on desk and a screen that replaces the floor projection.


The exhibition also included the MO – Musical Objects that have been developed in the framework of one of CoSiMa’s predecessor projects, Interlude.


CoSiMa in « Le Future de la Musique »

The participative concert Chloé ⨉ Ircam and the interactive installation Terminal, both created in the framework of CoSiMa, have been presented in the documentary « Le Future de la Musique » on the television program PLANÈTE+. The documentary includes interviews with Chloé and Norbert Schnell as well as footage from a working session with Chloé and Ircam’s CoSiMa team in a studio at Ircam.

Here is the trailer of the episode that features the CoSiMa projects :

Overexposure / Surexposition v.2

An interactive public installation with smartphones, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, February 2016

Surexposition/Overexposure (v.2) is an interactive work bringing together a public installation and a smart phone application. On an urban square, a large black monolith projects an intense beam of white light into the sky. Visible all over the city, the beam turns off and on, pulsating in way that communicates rigor, a will to communicate, even if we don’t immediately understand the signals it is producing. On one side of the monolith, white dots and dashes scroll past, from the bottom up, marking the installation with their rhythm: each time one reaches the top of the monolith, the light goes off, as if the marks were emptying into the light. On a completely different scale, we see the same marks scrolling across the smartphone screens of the people in attendance, interacting with the work, following the same rhythm. Here, it is the flash of the smartphones that releases light in accordance with the coded language. Returning to the very essence of Morse, the messages are then transformed into a sound composition, broadcast by the installation, as well as by the public’s smartphones. Because these are in fact messages that are being sent—in Morse code, from everyone, to everyone and to the sky—and that we can read thanks to the super-titling that accompanies the marks. Using a smartphone, anyone can send a message, saying what they think and therefore presenting themselves, for a few moments, to everyone, to a community sharing the same time, the same rhythm. And we can take the pulse of an even larger community—on the scale of the city and in real time—through a map of mobile phone network use, projected onto the ground or visualized via smartphone.

From an individual device (smartphone) the size of a hand to a shared format on the scale of the city, a momentary community forms and transforms, sharing a space, a pace, the same data, following a type of communication whose ability to bring together through a sensory experience is more important than the meaning of the messages it transmits or their destination, which is lost in the sky.

(Photos: Samuel Bianchini)

An Orange/EnsadLab (the laboratory of the École Nnationale supérieure Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, PSL Research University) project under the direction of Samuel Bianchini

in collaboration with Dominique Cunin (EnsadLab), Catherine Ramus (Orange Labs) and Marc Brice (Orange Labs), in the framework of a research partnership with Orange Labs, and Roland Cahen (sound design).

“Orange/EnsadLab” partnership directors: Armelle Pasco, Director of Cultural and Institutional Partnerships, Orange and Emmanuel Mahé, Head of Research, EnsAD

Project Manager (Orange): Abla Benmiloud-Faucher
IT Development (EnsadLab): Dominique Cunin, Oussama Mubarak, Jonathan Tanant
Graphic Design: Alexandre Dechosal (EnsadLab)
Sound Design: Roland Cahen
Sound engine development: Norbert Schnell (Ircam)
Voice samples recorded by choristers from Jazzalam
Lighting, Video Mapping and construction of the installation structure: idscènes
Mobile network data supply: Orange Flux Vision
Mobile network data processing: Cezary Ziemlicki (Orange)
SMS Server Development: Orange Applications for Business
Technical Assistant: Alexandre Saunier (EnsadLab)
Production Assistant: Élodie Tincq

Production: Orange
Executive Production: EnsadLab

The research and development for this work were carried out in association with the research project Cosima (“Collaborative Situated Media”), coordinated by Ircam and sponsored by the Agence nationale de la recherche (ANR) and participate in the development of Mobilizing.js (, a programming environment for mobile screens, conceived by EnsadLab, aimed at artists and designers.
This version of Surexposition benefits from a partnership with idscènes and Ircam under the aegis of the Cosima project.

Collective Loops @ Forum Workshops

A second version of the Collective Loops installation has been shown during the Ircam Forum Workshops on November 25 and 26, 2015.

The installation features a collaborative version of a step sequencer that uses the visitor’s smartphones to produce sound. The sequencer is graphically represented by a circle of 8 sectors projected on the floor. The sectors light up in a clockwise motion following the beats of the sequence.

When the players connect to the installation through a web page, they choose an available sector, and thus, their step in the loop. The players can control the sounds (i.e. notes in a melody or bass line and percussion sounds) that are played on their smartphone at the corresponding beat of the sequence through a simple graphical interface on their smartphones. The selected sounds are also displayed in the corresponding sector of the circle on the floor.

Positioned around the circle, the players collaborate on creating melodies and rhythm patterns rendered through their smartphones.

The application uses a first complete version of the CoSiMa platform entirely based on web standards.

Design and development :
Ircam: Norbert Schnell, Jean-Philippe Lambert, Benjamin Matuszewski, Sebastien Robaszkiewicz
Orbe: Xavier Boissarie, Florent Dubois, Gregory Cieslik, Tomek Jarolim, Quentin Levigneron
EnsadLab: Samuel Bianchini, Dominique Cunin, Oussama Mubarak, Jonathan Tanant
ID Scènes: Christophe Aubry, Fabrice Auchere
NoDesign: Jean-Louis Frechin, Uroš Petrevski
ESBA TALM: Christophe Domino

Terminal @ Paris Musique Club

Terminal is an interactive installation that has been created in collaboration with Chloé and the Scale collective for the Paris Musique Club. The installation will be shown from October 24, 2015 to January 31, 2016 at the Gaité Lyrique.

The project transposes the musical elements and mobile interactions of the Chloé ⨉ Ircam concert into the situation of an exhibition.
The installation features a looped 15-minutes 4-channel music track staged in a 7-meters corridor with 21 smartphones aligned along the wall and luminous lines running on the floor.

Similar as in the concert, visitors can connect to the installation with their mobile devices to participate. At given passages of the music track, the participants are invited to play sound with touch and motion interfaces that appear on their mobile device. The graphical animations and sound of their device are echoed by one of the smartphones on the wall.


Every now and then, waves of sound textures appear on the participants’ mobile devices. In addition, visitors can use a wall-mounted tablet to distribute sound textures over the smartphones on the wall. The light on the floor reacts on the music as well as the visitors’ interactions with the tablet.

Murmures Urbains @ Chalon dans la rue 2015

CoSiMa has participated with Murmures Urbains at 2015 edition of the festival Chalon dans la rue from June 24 to 26.

The Orbe collective has presented three experimental scenarios of augmented soundwalks. The participants equipped with a smartphone are invited to experience an augmented audio reality that reacts on their position, trajectory and movement (using GPS, BTLE beacons and motion sensors). Each scenario proposes a different narrative and leads the participants on different possible trajectories through the same district of Chalon-sur-Saône. The trajectories take between 30 minutes and 2 hours depending on the participants’ preference and their engagement with the proposed activities.

The trajectories of all participants have been recorded and visualized on a screen at the arrival point where the team invited the participants to a debriefing of their experience.

Chloé × Ircam @ Fête de la musique 2015

The French Ministère de la culture et de la communication asked IRCAM to imagine a participative concert for the Fête de la musique ’15, whose theme was « Vivre ensemble la musique » (“To live music together”). We partnered with Chloé in order to design the interactive live experience Chloé × Ircam. During that experience, Chloé alternates between moments when she plays alone — partially distributing sound on the audience’s smartphones —, and moments when she leaves room for the audience to play with her using their smartphones, thus enabling a musical dialog between her and the audience.

The concert took place on June 21st at the Jardin du Palais-Royal in Paris. At the beginning of the concert, participants are invited to join a WiFi network and connect to a URL ( After they indicate their positions in the venue thanks to a simple interface, the experience can begin. In addition to her usual live electronics setup, Chloé has four tablets where each participant shows up as a circle at the indicated position. Touching these circles she can play different sound textures on the participants’ smartphones. When moving her fingers over the touch screens the sound textures move over the space of the audience. On an additional tablet, Chloé can enable four different interfaces (i.e. simple instruments) on the participants’ devices that they can play by touching the screen and shaking the device.

The preparation of this project took three months, during which we made two live tests, one at IRCAM in the beginning of May with around 30 colleagues and friends, and one at the Centre Pompidou on June 9 with over 150 participants.