Invented by Swiss media artist Michael Egger in collaboration with Maïté Colin, the VideoBass is an instrument that plays moving images instead of sound. The performer uses their left hand on the neck of the instrument to select or scrub through video clips and triggers them in rhythm with their right hand on PlayStation controller knobs. The result is a mix of visuals that stand on their own or compliment music made by traditional instruments. Originally developed in 2003, the first incarnation of the VideoBass has undergone many revisions since. The video above follows the construction of the newest VideoBass in painstaking detail from start to finish.
“It is my dream that this VideoBass be its own instrument and find its place within the range of musical instruments, from the violin to the piano,” Michael says in this documentary about the VideoBass. “And I would like it to be further developed not just by myself, but also by other people.” If you’re interested in helping to further develop this open source video instrument, all of the source code, schematics, Max patches, and documentation are available in this SVN repository.
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