Color A Sound

Personal Work - 2008

Color a Sound is an instrument and installation that uses an overhead projector, a camera and a laptop to allow the user to draw whatever they’d like, roll it past a point, and have it trigger sounds, player-piano style.

Red, green and blue control three different octaves, or different sound sets (I use blue to control a set of 808 drum sounds in the example video). The rolls used to draw could be played forward or backward, and people could play previous compositions made from past users. Everything is programmed in Max/MSP/Jitter. 

I originally came up with the idea for the piece in 2008 and developed it for a Sound Art class I was in. It is very similar in concept to the color organ instruments that were developed in the early 1900’s, except in those instruments, artists were trying to represent sounds with colors. Color a sound for me is more of a playful comment on the naive idea of trying to represent such complex sounds with simple colors, and is more of a debunking of synesthesia than a champion of it.

The installation could have been more complex, employing more colors/motion tracking/dynamics sensing and a full chromatic range but I kept the interaction simple so it was something a child could figure out. Even with only three colors, one could just scribble something and have it make a quick melody, or actually sit down and make a rather complex composition.

Project Press:
Creative Applications


Selected Works

Pen Plotter WorkPersonal Projects

Circle DrawingsPersonal Project

Polarizer ArtworkPhysical artwork with linear polarizers

TV TelescopeWatching TV from a mile away

Extruded ScreenFiber optic filament display

You're on TVLive TV face swap

i miss you, neighborConnecting local strangers and friends

Self Destructive BehaviorScreen that slowly breaks itself

Hold TimePersonal photo blitz

Movie Stickers100,000 stickers in a room

7up | Music Lifts You UpCommercial Work

Google | Project Re:BriefCommercial Work

Shen Wei Dance ArtsArts Collaboration

Lexus | Trace Your RoadCommercial Work

IBM | Outthink Hidden ARCommercial Work

Samsung | Liquid CanvasCommercial Work

Other Professional WorkVarious Projects

Color A SoundAnalog/digital Instrument

Fake LoveFormer Experience Design Company

Sonic SculpturesPersonal Projects

street_crtPersonal Projects

Music VideosCollaborative video art

Older WorkPersonal Projects

Older Live Visuals WorkAudiovisual explorations 2006-2016