Visual Instrument


Interactive Media, Visual Instrument,
Max 7, Arduino 

 The goal was to create a hardware and software experience focused on performance to ‘play’ visuals as you would a musical instrument. This was an interesting task as how does one go about creating a visual instrument. For my hardware I created six buttons with two on a board and had each button start a different visual. Each board had a colored cloth over it to signify what visual aspect was made with that button. Creating the software was new and interesting to me. Using Max required a lot of research and help. I used three different effects (jit.plur, jit.streak, jit.noise) to add to the visual effects on the video. I also used three different hues (jit.scalebias) placed over the video to enhance the viewing. Adding key codes to the effects in Max interlinked the two softwares- Max and Arduino. To make the Arduino software work I added commends to the Arduino software to make it act like a keyboard (Keyboard.begin(); and Keyboard.write();) and be able to use the keys I applied in the Max software.

Looking though the effects and colors I chose it reminded me of the Tony Hawk PlayStation game I played when I was younger. Because of this I used the song Police Truck from the band Dead Kennedys which played on the Tony Hawk game. I used the instrumental version as I didn’t want the lyrics to take away from the performance. I paired this with people BMXing on the street as it fit with the song and feel I was going for. Finally, for the presentation I changed the effects and hues with the song to connect it together.

I believe the strength in my project was the video and audio choices I made. This song is well known getting people excited for my performance. While the video is interesting, in return keeping people interesting in watching. A challenge I had in this project was with the wired necessary for the buttons to work I had difficulty keeping the buttons in the Arduino board. Another challenge I faced was a delay happened on when I pressed a button which left my performance not syncing to the music. If I could change something about my performance it would be to have more effects as it seemed everybody’s performance was similar in that they had three or four effects and a hue change.

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