The Canopy

interactive sound installation-instrument (2011)

The Canopy (Lindborg, Koh & Yong 2011), is an interactive installation-instrument. The artwork consists of a 4.5 meter tall aluminum mast suspended by strings, set up in a black-box space and illuminated in a dramatic fashion. The visitor-performer stands on a hexagonal platform and manipulates the pole with seven degrees of control: two for floor position (where you stand), two for pole direction (where you point), and one each for twist, grip height and squeeze on the pole handle. Made from a windsurfing mast, the pole is robust. Playing is a physical experience, and by hanging full-out on the pole like a windsurfer, the performer can coax out the full range of sounds that The Canopy can produce, timbrally and spatially. A real-time program in MaxMSP (Cycling 74) maps control data to sound synthesis (e.g. physical modelling, granular synthesis or other) and 3-dimensional surround sound diffusion. At the first showing (ICMC 2011, Huddersfield, UK), The Canopy was presented in a black-box space in the centre of a 8-loudspeaker cube, with several elastic cords resembling strings, lit with several projectors, theatre smoke etc, to set the scene of “sailing in a sonic storm of elementary particles”. The visitor-performer could record an 'audiovisual keepsake', a 90 seconds filmclip with automatic mixing of 3 cameras and 3D surround sound in binaural reduction, that was uploaded to YouTube. We are currently adapting The Canopy to use as an musical instrument - with a different sound synthesis - in a multimedia & dance production (Dance Company, Singapore, 2013), as well as exploring hardware design improvements for a semi-permanent exhibition in a public space.

PerMagnus Lindborg - interaction design & programming
Joyce Beetuan Koh - art concept
Yong Rong Zhao - assistant interaction design

Supported by a grant from the Institute for Media Innovation, NTU, Singapore


Lindborg, PerMagnus (2012). “How fun is this? A pilot questionnaire study to investigate visitors’ experience of an interactive sound installation”. Poster presentation at International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition 2012. Thessaloniki, Greece, 23-28 July 2012.

Poster [PDF] Slides [PDF] Recording [mp3]


Lindborg, PerMagnus (2011). The Canopy, slides.

Lindborg, PerMagnus, Yong Rong Zhao, Koh Joyce Beetuan (2011). The Canopy, interactive installation. First presented at the International Computer Music Conference (ICMC), Huddersfield, UK, 31 July - 5 August 2011.

Audiovisual "keepsakes" for some of the visitors' performances [YouTube] (automatic videomixing, 3D binaural sound)

The Canopy has been made in two versions: first as a sound sculpture - cum- performance instrument in "On the String, theatre of music" (Koh, Lindborg, Khiew, et al. 2010). It was employed as a solo instrument "Cosmic Grains" as movement 5 of this multimedia 60-minute work. This video is from the production at Singapore Arts Festival 2010. We then developed it as a stand-alone interactive sound installation - cum - instrument as "The Canopy" (Lindborg, Koh, Yong) for ICMC (2011). We re-constructed the mast with a more robust design, included several pressure and acceleration sensors, as well as the platform that also acts as a control input for the performer. We are currently adapting The Canopy to use as an musical instrument - with a different sound synthesis - in a multimedia & dance production (Dance Company, Singapore, 2013), as well as exploring hardware design improvements for a semi-permanent exhibition in a public space.