Derek Hoffend | Haptigenic
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About This Project


May, 2004

Size: 8′ x 9′ x 10′ room, installation variable

Materials: Sound, Electronics, Latex, PVC tubing, Electroluminescent Wire, Computer, Audio Hardware, Wood


Haptigenic is a sound-sculpture installation combining interactive objects and a responsive sound environment. Hanging from the ceiling of the space are six cast-latex forms connected to tubing lit by electroluminescent wire, a material that phosphoresces with electricity. Squeezing the forms affects the sound environment. The forms contain air, are connected to air-pressure sensors, an electronic USB interface, and a computer. The computer runs a sound-design program called Max/MSP, in which I configured the system of sounds and interactivity relationships. Squeezing different pairs of forms affects the sounds in different ways, so that multiple viewers can participate to influence collective effects. The cumulative effects of the participation ensure a fluctuating and morphing composition that is nonlinear.


In its static state, the aural environment pulses with crackles and blooping pops. A microphone listens to gallery crowd sounds and feeds them back into the soundscape. This layer of sound depends on human activity within the gallery, adapting the influence of the external space of the gallery to the interior space of the piece. Squeezing of the forms affects frequencies, sound-event triggering, filter sweeps, and a temporary playback buffer that loops the most recent interactive events and fades out over time. Viewers can build the sounds into various crescendos that will return again to its static state until more viewers interact.


The sculptural latex forms are inspired by human organs and body parts. The green electroluminescent glow sets a mood that is simultaneously eerie and entrancing, synthetic and organic. This piece explores tactile and aural sense relationships, combined with the action/reaction of viewer participation. It also explores anthropomorphic elements through a relationship between sculptural form and sound form.