Step into Light and Sound in Interactive Synesthesia Experience

Arduino Craft & Design
Step into Light and Sound in Interactive Synesthesia Experience


“Blue-Yellow-Red” is a transmedia installation created by Nashville, Tennessee, interdisciplinary artist and transmedia performer Robbie Lynn Hunsinger. The exhibit was created for the Frist Center as part their 2014 Kandinsky exhibit. Kandinsky wrote a lot about synesthesia – how colors and sound go together. “Blue-Yellow-Red” is an interactive audio-visual experience exploring synesthesia.

In the exhibit, participants are able to step into long streams of blue, yellow, and red beams of light and create a unique audio and visual experience.  To make this possible, Hunsinger used long sensors under the carpet to detect where in the stream of light people were standing. She then used “Max” software to blend the sensor data with music and light to create a very unique experience that is different depending on how many people are interacting and where they are standing.

Arduino was initially created for artists, so its appropriate that her design is based on the popular Arduino Mega.  The activated sensors in every beam of color are summed and the net result determines the intensity of that color in the exhibit.  For example, more people standing in the blue results in a darker blue color in the visual. The pressure activated “MIDI pads” were designed and created by Hunsinger.

The different colors each trigger different visual effects. Blue mixes up to eight water and natural-colored video patterns and plays multiple horns in deep, sonorous bass sounds. Yellow triggers real-time visualizations of Irish whistles and avant-garde bass sounds. Red creates flame-like visuals and more bass sounds, which are patterned after the sensors that are activated.

The mashup of technology used in the exhibit is great. However, the component that makes it magical is the people.  Without the human interactions the exhibit would be lifeless. Once people enter the exhibit and start stepping, rolling, jumping or doing whatever the art compels them to do then the exhibit comes alive with light and sound.

“Blue-Yellow-Red” is a fascinating exhibit that lets participants interact with the technology and experience light and sound with all their senses. If you would like to bring “Blue-Yellow-Red” to your city, contact Hunsinger.

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I'm a software engineer by day and maker by night. Most of my making revolves around woodworking, electronics, and the combination of the two. I'm also the founder & president of NashMicro - the Nashville Microcontrollers users' group and the father of three future makers. Follow me on Twitter as @ianlee74 or for the most recent news on everything Gadgeteer, follow @gadgeteerin.

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