1.Working Title:



Soundplay is an installation set that includes several new acoustic and electronic instrument. The instrument will be designed following a dogma of concerning playfulness and freshness. They will be located on an area for audience to interact with them. Part of the instrument may retains traditional design to maintain performance possibility. Play and have fun.

  1. Project Details

The general concept of the Soundplay came from the idea of a playground. I wanted to call it playsound, but it is more difficult to pronounce than soundplay. It is a playground filled with special made instruments. These diy instruments by me are evolution and variant of modern musical objects. I want people to stay in the area and discover the sounds and possibilities of them.

The purpose of Soundplay is about bridging the gap between the role of performer and audience. The set aims to encourage people to interact with the instrument. I want people to play with the objects and people. To abuse them to make sound or any type of noise. For a long time, music performance has been limited to a certain group. With easy to use instrument and fun factors , this can be changed. Several artists are working in this direction (refer to references). For me , I long for building new instrument as an experiment. I will come across fields of instrument design and programming, electronics and wood crafting. These will be useful for me to work in media art related works. Besides, the opportunity to build my own instrument is valuable for me.

For the process of realization, now I have been testing new arduino sensors and instrument build during my exchange semester in Finland. So far, I have produced some devices that may be rebuilt for the Soundplay project. Beside, I took courses such as interaction design to enhance by knowledge about Interfaces . These will be useful for designing new instruments. In October, I also had a chance to visit ZhDK with SCM Lume led by Samson. The trip allowed me to have first hand information about people who are also working on musical interfaces and media arts. Moreover,after my SCM trip I visited Paris and London, several places had inspired me on the vision on media arts. Combining what I have learnt from SCM, I have a clearer goal to realize this project. Currently, I am reading some of the writings and lectures by John Cage. His idea of contemporary music and art shocked me when I realized he tried to bring out the idea of chance, art vs life,etc. My references may include a lot of “unrelated” stuff, but I am sure these led to what I am planning to do.

I planned to build 3-4 different instrument within the Chinese New Year Holiday. These instruments may include the nature of electric guitar, pedal boxes, theremin, sequencer, synthesizer, etc. My focus will be on the form of these new instrument and how to match my idea of playfulness and freshness.

4.Researches and background ideas

Debate between quality of sound, music and noise has always been a topic .Artists such as John Cage brought out new idea such as silence , chance to the music scene. Although being misunderstood during his time, these Avant-Garde idea surely need more participants. Now, with invention such as synthesizer,computer sampling the boarder of music and sound is enhanced. Undoubtedly, the possibility of contemporary music is different.

With the popularity of Pop music, the current audience recognized sound such as ambient noise as part of their musical experience. With the active growth in experimental music and sound art, there could be a new range of musical instrument for artists and audience. Musical instrument should evolve to fulfill the ever-growing imagination of the performers.

These instruments may be hybrid in technology,  such as the rise of touch screen based instruments. Besides, they may be totally new instruments requiring new gesture and understanding. Artists and inventors spend time to search for a perfect instrument with the development of electronics and digital technology. In my opinion , there is no such unique one, our role is to open up more possibilities and combination with the increasing amount of new technology.There have been different solution. For me, I have worked on instrument in alternative gesture and control. However, like most of the instrument, the design of these instrument stays within a complex structure. After several performances and visits during sound art occasions, I realized most of our projects can only keep the interests of professionals and the ‘geeks’ group.Common people are not encouraged to play with the sound even when the actual system is easy to control. Obviously, for them, these devices are certain type of BLACKBOX apparatus. I wanted to try something new. This time, the idea of SoundFace is to bridge the audience with the contemporary sound. But how to do it? I was fascinated with the idea of playful design.

Two years ago, I came across with a Swedish instrument OP-1 produced by the company Teenage Engineering. It is an interesting synthesizer with a playful outlook. I was always fascinated by their approach in wrapping up this instrument. Keeping in touch with these new ideas, I discovered the company relationship with Japanese sound artist Yuri Suzuki. I realized his approach to introduce sound art installation was actually the origin.

During the semesters in year 2014, I learned about the basic of making Arduino devices. Besides, I have took classes such as the special topics in sound art. These gave me new idea about sound and instrument. 

  1. Plan

(*As it is an art project , it cannot be quantified accurately)

January: Draft, Prepare possible materials

January-Feburary: Design and prototyping

Feburary-March :Building,programming and modification

April : Testing and Playing

6.References list

Silence & A Year from Monday, Lectures and Writing by John Cage

Transgressive Theremins with Mike Edison and Christen Clifford

Social Instrument

tech powered Playground of the Future

Human Bodies, Computer Music, Bob Ostertag

Andrey Smirnov Sound on Z

Arduino-Powered Turntables That Turn DJing Into Child’s Play

The Voice – Tomomi Adachi

“Harmonic Fields” installation

yuri suzuki: urushi musical interface


Marcel Duchamp idea on Ready Made, objects

John Cage on Art and life and contemporary music

Dieter Rams on Industrial design

Bill Gaver on Playful Design

Hector on Blackbox and apparatus

XEX project on theremin research

Yuri Suzuki

Samson Young

DJ Sniff

John Richards

Ellen Fullman


(Some Instruments)





Arduino Technology

Open Theremin

Mozzi Arduino Library

My Arduino instruments:


Altar 1

  1. Other Material Related

(personal notes and writings soundplayon sound art ideas & Soundface design, sketches for a set of new instrument i made in Finland, will be developed and applied in the Soundplay project)

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