Category Archives: Process – IM

Hyperessay Key Work Selection: The Cave of Sounds by Music Hackspace/Tim Murray-Browne

The Cave of Sounds, a collaboration between eight artists from Music Hackspace and led by Tim Murray-Browne, is an interactive sound installation exploring the power of music to bind individuals together and the visceral urge to use technology to broadcast our identity. Inspired by the prehistoric origins of music, the work is formed of eight original musical instruments, arranged in a circle facing inwards, each of which can be played by intuition and by the audience itself.

Created during a ten month residency at the Music Hackspace, each instrument has been designed and created by an individual as an embodiment of their own artistic practice, but also to exist together as a new ensemble.

In the hands of its audience, the work is crafted to provoke participants to connect and resonate with each other through musical expression. Software linking the instruments gently adjusts their sounds to converge musically as well as detecting musical connections between participants and visualising them onto a central projection. The Cave of Sounds also explores the juxtaposition of prehistoric music and modern interactive technology. It uses both to connect the audiences within the space, providing an immersive and new experience.

The eight instruments are as follows (via The Cave of Sounds):

Sonicsphere by Panagiotis Tigas

A palm-sized sphere with an embedded wireless gyroscope that you can use to warp and charter spaces of heavy digital timbres.

Joker by Wallace Hobbes

A punchy drum kit you play by wearing a mask and tapping your fingers onto conductive tape.

The Animal Kingdom by Daniel Lopez

A world of sounds you awaken and shepherd by casting hand shadows in the shape of animals onto a table top, which are read and interpreted by an interior camera.

Generative Net Sampler by Tadeo Sendon

Experimental audio samples, created from digital field recordings of the internet, are triggered as you move through invisible cylindrical trigger zones, detected using a 3D camera.

Lightefface by Kacper Ziemianin

A deep drone you control by shining lamps over 24 light sensors, each of which modulates the intensity of a different harmonic of a fundamental frequency.

Campanology by Dom Aversano

Generative rhythms derived through the mathematics of church bell ringing patterns, controlled through free movement of your hands using a 3D camera.

Mini-Theremin by Sus Garcia

Using hand gestures, you control a DIY theremin running through a pitch-tracker, turning it into a controller to mangle noise synthesis.

Wind by Tim Murray-Browne

A breathy flute sound you play by moving your hands around your body through a grid of harmonious notes, sensed using a 3D camera.

The Animal Kingdom (top) & Lightefface (bottom) via

With the instruments, there are endless possibilities as participants are given the freedom to choose any instrument and play it as and when they like. With that, this piece of work becomes an ultimate collaborative ensemble – from movement to sound, from technology to prehistoric sounds. The boundaries between instrument creator, composer, performer
and audience are increasingly blurred as well.

Similar to Jon Cage’s Variation V, chance techniques are used to avoid the habitual tendencies of deterministic musical composition. This embraces entropy. Although both artists have chosen the the types of sounds, textures and objects, the specific musical sequence of sounds was left to chance. This degree of interactivity in the musical composition process enables a shift of control and creative decision from the artist to the audience and process. Both Variation V and The Cave of Sounds demonstrates the idea of indeterminacy by creating unpredictable, indeterminate relationships between music, dance, image and movement.


Cave of Sounds

Hyperessay Artist Selection: Tim Murray Browne

Tim Murray-Browne is an artist and creative coder from the UK creating interactive installations and performances. His work explores how our ideas and identity relate to our lived experience. It includes ensembles of bespoke musical instruments performed by the audience, audiovisual landscapes generated by the movement of a dancer, interactive light and sound sculptures that respond to the viewer’s position and immersive one-on-one performances to transform an individual’s memories into calligraphic images. It has been exhibited around the world at venues including Tate Modern, The Victoria & Albert Museum and Berkeley Art Museum.

In Murray-Browne’s website, he discusses his practices and ideas further from an interview with Create Hub.

“This is what draws me to working with interactive technology so much — particularly when it involves the moving body with music and abstract imagery. Music and dance have this strange way of saying so much while also saying nothing. The abstraction lets us explore our human activities together before we get focused on the specific personal details of our lives. In some sense, you can reduce human experience down to this dialogue between what we do and what we sense. Mixing interaction, music and dance lets you create an abstract microcosm of experience. This is a space where you can explore this complex relation between identity and environment.”

Some thoughts:
There are many artists who work with technology and media. However, Murray-Browne’s works stood out to me as many of his works and idea explores the relation of the moving body and sounds. His works show an immersive experience where people can participate and connect, even if they are physically apart in the space. Also, through his works, there are many elements similar to interactive works in the past – exemplifying how these ideas of interactivity and connectivity have influenced contemporary artists like Tim Murray-Browne.