The Samplotron is a large, geometric mobius sculpture made of recycled and reclaimed metal and wood. Dispersed through the structure is large scale sampling grid. As people play through its space, climbing, and pushing buttons they unlock musical samples and a collaborative song is built.
The sculpture itself is built using recycled metal and wood from the factory grounds and surrounding industrial area, giving the impression that it is a mechanical extension from the grounds. Dispersed throughout the structure are a grid of lights and buttons. In effect, the sculpture is a large audio controller that invities cooperative musical play. Musicians from Berlin, Mississippi, and San Francisco have composed sample banks that will be “played” through the spontaneous interaction of people moving through Plauhaus. Some of these tone/sample banks are comprised of musical professionals while others are submissions from area school children.
As the name suggests, this project achieves interactivity on two levels by focusing on the idea of “play.” First, the piece invites physical play through its jungle gym inspired design. People are able to interact with the piece by climbing in, around, and over its intertwining gridded frame. The second interactive play modality is the way in which the piece itself is an agent used in “play” – like a musical game. In the one mode the buttons act like ‘simon-says’, by prompting the users to unlock rythmic patterns of button presses, which reveal unique song loops. The more loops are unlocked the more collaborative and complex the song becomes.
The combination of the auditory and physical engagement of the sculpture creates an exciting experience for the participants of Figment Jackson to “play” through three dimensional physical space while simultaneously “playing” through musical compositions submitted by local artists. Through this duality, participants will be able to discover new local artists by revealing the wider community as it is situated in local, national and global networks of culture and communication, in an interesting and engaging way. Cooperative play with other Figment participants within the sculpture reinforces participants’ social engagement with the broader community, and inspires community building within the event itself.