Being an international music superstar means you can tour with whatever fun toys you like. In the case of Bjork’s new Volta tour, that means the JazzMutant Lemur multi-touch interface and, even more fun, the fantastic reacTable, a research project involving projection and multiple objects for a tangible interactive table experience! CDM reader Mike Cohen smuggled this video out of a recent Bjork performance:
It really does work nicely in action, in terms of expressing to the audience what the performer is doing, and making nice eye candy, to boot.
More details on Bjork’s futuristic touring rig:
multitouched bjork [Byron Scullin blog]
And, of course, a big report from Boing Boing celebrity Xeni Jardin, which I’m way behind on linking as it posted 4/28:
Coachella: BjÃ¶rk’s wild sound machines, and report from the turf [Boing Boing]
It’s funny, but despite endless blog coverage of devices like the reacTable, some dating back before the creation of CDM, it sometimes takes a celebrity like Bjork for other people to notice the instrument. Then again, many electronic instruments have been popularized over the years by big names (Moog gear by Keith Emerson and Wendy Carlos, Fairlight CMI by Peter Gabriel, etc., etc., in a list too long to recount). So, perhaps this is something big for tangible interfaces. I noticed blocks were big at ITP last night. I think these devices just have a long way to go in terms of general accessibility and expressiveness, at least for mass music making; most importantly, they have to work on those two points in ways that can be reproduced by lots of people, if not in a commercial product, in a DIY implementation. But it’ll be interesting to watch, as always. And Bjork certainly demonstrates how to rock the instrument.