Scrapple:A physical active score table
Scrapple is a physical interpretation of one of the screen-based Audiovisual Environments (AVES) which I originally devised for the audiovisual performance Scribble in 2000. The AVES instrument invited its users to draw animated graphical marks into a score-like diagram; these marks were then “played back” as the diagram was periodically scanned from left to right. The user-drawn marks were effectively interpreted as “notes,” and as the user’s marks wiggled across the screen, the tones and rhythms derived from them would slowly evolve.
In the Scrapple installation, objects placed on a table are interpreted as sound-producing marks in an active score. Scrapple makes use of a variety of playful objects; in particular, flexible shape-holding curves allow for the creation of melodies, while an assemblage of small windup toys and other moving objects yield ever-changing rhythms. Video projections on the Scrapple table transform the installation into a simple augmented reality, in which the users’ objects are elaborated through colorful and explanatory graphics. The 3-meter long table produces a 4-second audio loop, using a hybrid of granular and additive sound synthesis techniques.
In the course of my research I discovered that Scrapple has some interesting precursors which are, unfortunately, also somewhat obscure. The most significant of these is the DIMI-O environment developed by Erkki Kurenniemi in 1971, which employed the metaphor of an active score in order to create looping musical patterns from any video image. A more whimsical and lively approach to active scoring is Lorenzo Levy’s recent Hamster Sequencer. I hope that Scrapple will help carry the torch of these interesting investigations, and serve as another enjoyable experiment in tangible, interactive audiovisual composition.
Kurenniemi, Erkki. “DIMI-O,” 1971. Video-based active score system, featured in: Taanila, Mika, Tulevaisuus ei ole entisensä (“The Future Is Not What It Used To Be”) and The Dawn of DIMI, DVD, 2002. Available from MEGO, www.mdos.at
Levin, Golan. Painterly Interfaces for Audiovisual Performance, M.S. Thesis, MIT Media Laboratory, August, 2000
Lorenzo, Levy. Intelligent MIDI Sequencing with Hamster Control, M.Eng. Thesis, Cornell University, 2003
Lorenzo Levy’s Hamster Sequencer, 2003
Erkki Kurenniemi’s DIMI-O environment, 1971