HAMCA Hologram Actuated Multiplayer Chime Array
Corbin Ordel and Pat Spadine
PC is the ongoing collaboration of P. Spadine and Corbin Ordel. They enjoy and employ the virtues of both the physical and digital worlds by opening access points between them. As musicians of contrasting technological specialties, Spadine and Ordel combine thoughts and resources to ease the restrictions inherent to interfacing a physical instrument.
Historically, both recreational and professional performers and composers have been influenced and inhibited by the mechanical realities of an instrument and the body playing it. The ability a mechanical connection has to transfer expression from performer to sound is undeniable and exquisitely demonstrated each time a piano key is pressed. However, equally undeniable and repeatedly heard throughout the modern soundscape, is the ability a digital system has to facilitate the transfer of creativity into sound while simultaneously augmenting the capabilities of the performer. Both modes of interaction allow a particular intimacy between the performer and the sound to thrive. The mechanical interface amplifies the expressions of the body, and the digital accentuates creations of the mind. As technology to capture the nuance of physical expressions with digital interfaces grows more sophisticated, the quixotic goal of balancing the immediacy of a mechanical connection and the flexibility of a programmable interface becomes more attainable.
To explore these ideas and open the conversation PC invites you to play the Hologram Actuated Multiplayer Chime Array. The HAMCA has two towers of eight aluminum tubular chimes horizontally hung to maximize their resonance. Tuned with musical collaboration in mind, the chimes are electro-mechanically struck by solenoids upcycled from a piano automation system. Up to 3 simultaneous players are able to access the HAMCA interface with XR headsets revealing a playscape of holographic objects. Some of the holograms have a 1:1 connection to the chimes; touch these holograms and hear the striking of a chime. These holograms can be thought of like a key on a piano but a key which can be removed from the keyboard and placed anywhere in the physical space adherent to the desires of the performer. Alongside these “keys” are a collection of larger holographic structures and objects. These holograms are human scale reconstructions of various digital music tools which allow musical thoughts to be stored, repeated, manipulated, and layered. Commonplace to electronic musicians, but less frequently available to the acoustic performer, these tools allow the composition and performance of music beyond the capabilities of the performer’s physical body. The HAMCA was designed to give you the experience of implementing these digital tools on an acoustic instrument in a collaborative way. As you explore the instrument, video displays will allow others to see a projection of the holographic realm as they hear the musical results resonating from the chimes.
With a plethora of ways to play the HAMCA, each path being as valid as the next, the apprehensions that accompany approaching an instrument that you “don’t know how to play” evaporate as you realize “no one knows how to play this thing!” and notice “everyone knows how to play this thing!” Through this mantra, PC hopes the intuitive nature of gestural control and sheer novelty of holographic technology entice you to play and enjoy the experience of music making without the inherent creative limitations of a mechanically interfaced instrument. All the while, creating music that shimmers with visceral feedback and the glorious imperfections of an acoustic instrument.