London’s Song Board is too much fun

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Song Board, 2012, interactive installation, 2 x 35 m, King's Cross Station, London

Song Board, 2012, interactive installation, 2 x 35 m, King’s Cross Station, London

Published: January 2, 2020

Last updated:

London’s Song Board

Organized at Central Saint Martins in London, the Song Board was a spectacular multi-sensory installation. It tried providing a playful and memorable experience in the heart of the city. It proved to be highly engaging while delivering a unique experience to the passengers.

At this interactive platform, the visitors could turn the available spheres for creating their unique customized patterns as well as sounds that are known to develop performable melodies. The black & yellow or white balls were shown in the form of a binary matrix. This matrix is known to allow making abstract patterns, messages, and signs for providing a visually captivating specification for the passing visitors.

The images and messages were created by running the hands over the ball matrix. The interactions of the visitors were instant and mostly resulted in the delivery of simple, light-toned messages. Students of the Central Saint Martins art school installed it at the entrance of the King’s Cross Station. The venue reflected the collaborative and participatory ethos of the world-renowned Olympic Games.

Song Board, 2012, interactive installation, 2 x 35 m, King's Cross Station, London

Song Board, 2012, interactive installation, 2 x 35 m, King’s Cross Station, London

Song Board, 2012, interactive installation, 2 x 35 m, King's Cross Station, London

Song Board, 2012, interactive installation, 2 x 35 m, King’s Cross Station, London

Time-lapse video

27 sec

How it was made

The sensory boards were made out of as many as 2940 plastic spheres. The colored balls at the venue were lined across a long wall that is 35 meters in length –featuring a 210 X 14 grid. When these spheres were touched, the balls could be easily rotated in the respective sockets. The rotation of the spheres helped in creating a sound when these were turned.

Production video
22 sec

The role of the visitors

Interacting at the Song Board was optional. At the same time, the overall levels of engagement also varied. Some people observed the event while others participated.

Most visitors tended to go for the option of pre-arranged displays for printing on the board. Then, the crowd could “flash mob” the given venue for making their plans an ultimate reality. The stark contrast got further amplified as the ball matrix is known to rotate in four possible options –yellow, yellow/black, black/yellow, and black.

Using these specialized features, the users were able to create an impressive series of shapes, lines, symbols, patterns, and designs. To top it all, the ball matrix was wired up to individual micro-switches. A small movement of the same could help in creating a connection for producing a brief section of sound.

Song Board, 2012, interactive installation, 2 x 35 m, King's Cross Station, London

Song Board, 2012, interactive installation, 2 x 35 m, King’s Cross Station, London

Song Board, 2012, interactive installation, 2 x 35 m, King's Cross Station, London

Song Board, 2012, interactive installation, 2 x 35 m, King’s Cross Station, London

Conclusion

The nature of openly accessing the venue, along with its impressive scale, made the task of producing a complicated challenge. However, the Song Board successfully engage and entertained residents and commuters alike.

Song Board, 2012, interactive installation, 2 x 35 m, King's Cross Station, London

Song Board, 2012, interactive installation, 2 x 35 m, King’s Cross Station, London

Song Board, 2012, interactive installation, 2 x 35 m, King's Cross Station, London

Song Board, 2012, interactive installation, 2 x 35 m, King’s Cross Station, London

Song Board, 2012, interactive installation, 2 x 35 m, King's Cross Station, London

Song Board, 2012, interactive installation, 2 x 35 m, King’s Cross Station, London

Song Board, 2012, interactive installation, 2 x 35 m, King's Cross Station, London

Song Board, 2012, interactive installation, 2 x 35 m, King’s Cross Station, London

Song Board, 2012, interactive installation, 2 x 35 m, King's Cross Station, London

Song Board, 2012, interactive installation, 2 x 35 m, King’s Cross Station, London

Song Board, 2012, interactive installation, 2 x 35 m, King's Cross Station, London

Song Board, 2012, interactive installation, 2 x 35 m, King’s Cross Station, London

All images: MA Creative Practice for Narrative Environments and BA (Honours) Architecture: Spaces and Objects at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London. unless otherwise noted.

 

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