Motion Sound (2007)

Running Time: 1 minute 15 seconds

Motion Sound is an interactive installation that harnesses movement from the human body to create a musical soundscape. A video camera looking onto an ordinary hallway from behind a pane of glass effectively acts as an eye for the installation, capturing any movement that passes through its view. Once motion is detected, a computer running customized software translates the information into a range of numbers which in turn generates MIDI controlled sounds of bells and a piano. Audio recordings of bongo drums are also mixed into the musical medley giving the soundscape an extra layer of richness. Both a subtle and a boisterous sound experience can be achieved with Motion Sound depending on how subdued or wild the viewer's gestures are.

Conceptually, Motion Sound seeks to push — in a playful way — an awareness of space. Seldom do we put much consideration into the interrelationship between our physical presence and the spaces that we occupy and pass through on a daily basis; nonetheless, each has an effect on the other. By augmenting a hallway with the ability to respond to human presence by generating music, Motion Sound aims to build this consciousness.


The motion detection for Motion Sound was achieved using a single video camera attached via FireWire to a computer running custom software developed in MAX MSP JITTER. The same MAX program also generated the music that filled the hallway as people walked through the installation space.

Motion Sound was completed as a personal project of interest during an introductory course I attended in Interactive Installation and Performance Art.


  • Video camera
  • Sound system