Ars Electronica 2005
Festival-Website 2005
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Festival 1979-2007


Music Box

'Gicheol Lee Gicheol Lee / 'Jin-Yo Mok Jin-Yo Mok

Music Box is an instrument that integrates an installation with interactions over the Internet. The physical installation consists of an old-fashioned music box with a crank handle. The pins of the music box have been replaced with LEDs and the notes with photo sensors. Users can draw a shape or pattern on the screen with their mouse and the same pattern of LEDs will light up on the physical music box. When the crank handle on the LED cylinder is turned, any sensors that detect light from the LEDs will make a sound. Songs submitted by people over the Internet are stored in a database and shared by the online and offline music box.

Music Box explores the development of technologies from the analog to the digital age by translating the concept of an original old-fashioned music box into the digital realm and playing with the changing technological paradigms of our time, bridging the traditional standards of artistic creation with technological invention.
The Music Box project began as an attempt to reproduce my personal experience with a small music box with a crank handle in which I saw an ideal model of interaction for an interactive artwork. As I turned the handle, I could clearly see that I was controlling the movement of the music box. It precisely reflected my interaction with it, creating beautiful tension between sounds.

The interaction created a charming sensation mixed with my memory of childhood. I wanted to reproduce the exquisite moments I had with the music box.
I also tried to refresh the experience by integrating it with digital technology. Through the digital and electronic conversion of a music box, the Music Box can have the capability to have an unlimited number of tunes. Some people try to compose simple songs like “Twinkle twinkle little star”, some well-known lullabies, or they write their names on the Music Box and listen to how it sounds. Many other people play with it, drawing a person, trees, a dog, or anything else freehand on the screen. Through these interactions I see my experience being recreated.