machine of the month

»reac(t)Table!«

Well-concealed in a dark, isolated space in the Media Museum there stands a table. It has little in common with whatever one understands by being under the table, since its surface does not serve as somewhere to place a coffee cup or newspaper. Should one place a certain object made of Plexiglas on its surface, it does not simply stand there, mute, but reacts and answers by omitting multiple sounds. An electronic musical instrument emerges from a mere commodity. By turning and moving the Plexiglas building element, once may modify the tones. The connection between the objects produces rhythms and music.

»reactable« was developed at the University of Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona by a team of scientists, musicians and designers who have received awards for their work, such as the Prix Ars Electronica Golden Nica. At this year’s KAMUNA, the table was played in a unique way, among others, by composers such as Matthias Ockert and Japanese musical virtuoso, Chikashi Miyama. However, thanks to its intuitive technique of operation, the melodious secret of »reactable« is also revealed to all experimentally open ZKM visitors.

Text: Valerie Glock

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