mp3 konzert archiv research project


The exhibition took place at the Fruchthalle Kaiserslautern, an old markethall that wasn't that perfect for digital media events. One of the main goals for the exhibition therefore was to transform this given space into something special. The underlying main idea was soundscapes, that can be experienced by the visitors.



The heart of the exhibition was the "Meadow of Music". The whole hall was covered with real pre-grown lawn, where we planted the music flowers. Every flower contains little speakers and a mp3-player. The music floating out of the flowers are playlists generated by all participants of the mp3 konzertarchiv projects. We had more than 64 flowers with very diffrent kinds of music.


The room wasn't only transformed by the visual impact, but also by a very decent soundscape. The flowers did not play the music very loud. In result the flowers whispered into the air and visitor had to bend forward to listen to a flower closely.

Listening to the music of the flowers.

This installation is a huge analog interface where each visitor browse for music in its own stlye, tempo and taste. Every flower represent the aura of music that every participant of the projects has or metaphorically speaking: everyone has a musical universe. The mp3's in the flower came directly from the harddisks (private archives) of the participants.

Electric Travolta (TM)

Electric Travolta (tm) free for use.

The second main exhibit was the Electric Travolta (TM). It is an analog-digital installation interacting with the following components: visitor - dancer, stage - electronic display, dj.

How does it work? The dj plays dance music. The dancefloor is a stage for dancers. The moves of the dancer are beeing caught by a webcam and transformed into an abstract image where the silhouette of the dancer can be seen. The image of the webcam could be easily showed directly on the screen, but the transformation into abstract images is a very important part of that installation: people mostly behave shy when they see themself projected on a large screen. The abstraction lead to a very interesting effect in the perception: people entering the stage were very facinated by the display and instantly began to PLAY with the screen. They don't had the feeling of beeing exposed (in fact they were very exposed). They mainly played with the screen and totally forget about their surroundings. People loosed their inhibitions and really got wild. The fine line between spectator and actor on stage became fluid.

This exhibit is about new ways of interaction between analog and digital. It is about the body in motion and playful digital technologies.


The exhibition also featured some applications that were surrounding the topics music, archives, interaction.

Netmusic Self-Organizing Map

We made a Self-Organizing Map (SOM) of 60GB of music from netlabels. In addition to the mp3-tracks itself we fed the SOM-algorithm with meta-data like id3-tags, xml-data (describing the release) and a random selection of reviews about the releases derived from online-magazines. The data given at input was condensed to 180 clusters describing genres. The naming of each cluster was derived by the algorithm. Each generated genre cluster consists of three words. Names of the clusters are like: "deep electronic dance" or "ambient piano chillout".

180 genre cluster mapped by an AI-algorythm

Cluster "Ambient-Electronica-Experimental" uncollapsed.

Each cluster has 0-300 tracks inside. The 60GB archive of mp3 contained a lot of not so good tracks, but all tracks that the SOM selected for us were really upfront, good in quality and sorted into genre-descriptions that was familiar to us or imaginable for humans. To our very surprise both genre description and quality of tracks are at a very high level. This application is an approach of using artificial intelligence tools to browse for high-quality netmusic.

Netaudio Top50 2004: Fluid Jukebox

In opposition to the AI-Algorithm we showed a selection of the most favourite netaudiotracks 2004 - selected by people. The top50 was made by asking DJs, musicians and journalists in cooperation with the german onlinemagazine Phlow. The exhibit showed the tracks in a digital jukebox.

The design of a jukebox consist of two important facts: function and visual impact. The fuction is to select music from a defined number of tracks. But the most interesting aspect to a jukebox is not the selecting of music itself, but the art of browsing. On a vintage jukebox you have controllers to select the track you want to hear. On selection the record will be physically retrieved and put on the record player. This kind of selecting music is very satisfying to watch and makes out the myth of the jukebox.

Each ball represent one track in the jukebox.

How can we apply this fun way of browsing to a digital jukebox? In our digital jukebox 50 balls are flying around - each one representing a track. If you press down the button you are in selecting mode. If you touch a ball with your controller instantly the track begins to play. If you again unpress the button, the selected track will continue playing. The ball of the selected track blinks orange. Not yet played tracks are grey. Recently played tracks turn black and slowly fade to grey again. This very fluid user interface leads to exploration of unknown music. The grafical representation not only shows what happens at real time, but also shows the near past of the jukebox and not yet taken possibilites.

mp3-privat archiv

Handselected playlist from all participants.

In this exhibit all the music that is playing in the music flowers on the meadow (see above) could be browsed. The playlists were assigned to the mp3 konzertarchiv participants. The selections showed, that every people has its own musical universe. The playlists are very personal and in direct opposition of artificial intelligence based browsing or top-of-the-pops selections. Every privat music profile tells a story of the person behind it.

Shooter Game: Le Fonque Vol

This application is a music sequencer in form of a game. You control a ship, must defeat enemies and shoot at loop-flowers. The gameplay is derived from the classical 8-bit game "defender". New to this game are the music capabilites: if a loop-flower opens, you can select one of three loops inside the flower. There are 5 loopflowers, resulting in 15 diffrent musicloops in total. By playing this game you always customize your game-soundtrack. There are 243 combinations available.

Interactive music sequencer in form of a game.
Click here to play the game (requires flash-plugin).

This game asks questions of the condition of making and experiencing music at the beginning at the 21st century. It also leads to a new approach of ludic interfaces that varies the perception of music. The music itself can be recombined and looses the aura of singularity, but not the intensity of experience.

Architectonical elements

Readymade Objects

Readymade objects for the computer applications.

Inside readymade objects.

Readymade objects detail.


Pressing button records speech.

Vintage Records Top100

Top100 to give away for free.

Each bottle is labeled with Title, Top100-Position, Text and a self-similarity map.

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