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Here + Now: holding onto the present moment

Posted in Installations Hardware Projects

Here + Now is a tactile auditory experience inviting participants to be gentle and focus on the present moment, by directly squeezing the music they hear. This project was created by Kevin Lee.

A tactile and auditory experience

Here + Now gives you a tactile connection to the digital reconstruction of audio, putting a direct link from the hand to loudness, complexity, and destruction. It responds immediately to the weight and pressure of the hand. When you squeeze, the music played becomes progressively louder and more mangled as the pressure increases.

The experience of destroying the music as you hold it in your hand invites you to let go a little and be gentle - the original music can only be heard when touching as lightly as possible. Touching lightly, however, decreases the volume, and is made very difficult by the extreme pressure sensitivity.

Finding a light touch

Only by holding gingerly and leaning in can the music be heard in its original form. This is designed to encourage a sense of gentle connection with the present moment, and to emulate the oxymoronic nature of trying harder and harder to remember something, only to feel it slipping away even more because of that.

It asks you to reflect on how counterproductive it can be to hold on too hard, like squeezing a fistful of sand just to watch it slip away from between your fingers.

Making the experience

Here + Now was made with a Bela Mini for Global Innovation Design’s Gizmo module. Recorded directly from the line out in the video, instead of mic’ing the 2 internal speakers. Audio from Local Native’s track “When Am I Gonna Lose You”, with original audio recorded for the “mangled” version of the track purpose made to subtly strengthen the impact of the audio falling apart.

About Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee is a freelance developer and creative technologist. He uses his Chinese name, MNGYUAN, for his work which means DREAM FAR.

He is passionate about creating expressive & empathetic digital experiences, and harnessing novel tech to do so. Currently he trying to create conscious and thoughtful work combining striking visual design and software.

He is currently study for a masters in Global Innovation Design which is a MA/MSc that takes place between Imperial College London Dyson School of Design Engineering and the Royal College of Art.

Bela

Bela is an open-source platform for ultra-low latency audio and sensor processing. Find out more on our website, buy Bela at our shop, follow us on twitter, instagram or join our community and discuss this post on our forum.

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