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.


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.

CoSiMa @ WAC’15

At the first international Web Audio Conference (WAC’15), CoSiMa presented three pieces of work.

Collective Sound Checks (poster)

Just like at TEI’15 the week before, we presented our work on the Collective Sound Checks through the poster you can see below. Quite a lot of people gathered at our booth during the demo session to play with the web apps and create spontaneous collective performances.

Collective Sound Checks WAC'15 Poster

Soundworks (paper & poster)

We presented a draft of the Soundworks library (which has evolved quite a lot since then): Soundworks is a Javascript framework that enables artists and developers to create collaborative music performances where a group of participants distributed in space use their smartphones to generate sound and light through touch and motion.

In particular, we used Soundworks to build the Drops collective performance (see below). You can read the WAC paper here, or have a look at the Github repository for more up-to-date information. Finally, you’ll find the WAC poster below.

Soundworks WAC'15 poster

Drops (performance)

Finally, we presented the first public representation of Drops, a collective smartphone performance built with Soundworks. Drops is strongly inspired by the mobile application Bloom by Brian Eno and and Peter Chilvers, and transposes it into a collaborative experience: each participant can only play a single sound (i.e. a single pitch), whose timbre can vary depending on the touch position. Together, the players can construct sound sequences (i.e. melodies) by combining their sounds. The sounds are repeated in a fading loop every few seconds until they vanish. Players can clear the loop by shaking their smartphones. The sounds triggered by one player are automatically echoed by the smartphones of other players. The collective performance on the smartphones is accompanied by a synchronized soundscape on ambient loudspeakers. This first Drops representation gathered around 60 players at the WAC.