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Synplode: Why It Works

This is the view of the Synplode OpenFrameworks application when it’s time to write musical content and there’s no projector to be found. The characters move randomly across the grid and bounce in time with the music. Obviously. Special thanks to for providing dancers!

Basic Idea:

At the start of the Synplode demo video, it is easy to see that a wave passes over the basic projected grid, flashing one column at a time, each containing 8 trigger regions. When a participant (or microbot) is present on a region, it is activated. When the wave intersects with an activated region, it causes a Synplosion, expressed through a splash of color and a distinctive sound. In the grid, each row represents a distinctive color and pitch or audio sample.

Why It Works:

Ultimately, the objective in the Synplode project is to bring people together and help them to feel some kind of connection to the music and to each other.

First, it is important that every participant feel a connection to the system. Participants need first to determine how their actions can affect the system, and then confirm that they indeed have control. With Synplode, a participant steps onto the surface and can immediately see that she has activated the trigger region at her feet. As the wave of flashing regions approaches, she sees that her activated region Synplodes in sync with the music as the wave passes across her. As she moves, she activates other regions, which affect Synplosions with different colors, sounds and timings. By keeping the grid layout and the flashing wave pattern simple and fairly repetitive, the participant can predict how her movement across the space will affect the resulting Synplosions.

Just as importantly, each participant can easily see that every other participant has the same control. Because the wave can trigger only a few Synplosions simultaneously, every participant gets to share control of the system across time, ensuring that everyone’s contribution can be recognized as such. This recognition is fundamental to the experience of connection between participants.



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