3-D-Mapped Chapel Becomes Laser-Controlled Musical Instrument

Prague-based projection mapping collective Macula have turned a Baroque church into a virtual music instrument that can be played with laser pointers.

The surface of the interior of the Olomouc Baroque chapel in the Czech Republic was mapped, with parts of the architecture becoming triggers for different sounds and visual effects.

The piece — called Archifon I — allows up to 10 visitors to interact with the mapped surface of the deconsecrated church. In addition to triggering sounds, the laser pointers also trigger projected animations, ranging from simply lighting up a particular statue or causing a rainy thunderstorm to accompany a dramatic soundscape.

For example, angel statues trigger the sound of choristers, while different panes of the windows trigger different tones of tubular bell. Different parts of a large biblical painting trigger different polyphonic soundscapes. The pillars act as effects sliders, and running the laser pointer along them triggers a moving animation and a crackly feedback sound. There is even a programmable drum machine integrated into the top part of the pillars.

The audio and Max/MSP programming was done by Tomaš Dvo?ák and the real-time tracking was developed by Dan Gregor. The piece was erected for the opening ceremony of the PAF film and animation festival in Olomouc in December 2011.

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