Decoding the composition
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OurSpace, the interactive visitor experience at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, received international recognition, winning the UNESCO World Summit Award for eContent and Creativity, and featured cutting-edge technology and user-generated content alongside the museum's exhibits. I was commissioned by Gibson Group to develop an algorithm that created dynamically shifting musical textures in response to user engagement with an interactive wall.  I composed three unique musical landscapes for the project - Ambient, Ethnic, and Techno - and invited other New Zealand composers to contribute their own compositions. Our collaborative efforts resulted in nearly a dozen distinct musical environments that ebbed and flowed based on user interaction.


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3 Pieces for Te Papa’s OurSpace Wall

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Project Details

3 Pieces for Te Papa’s OurSpace Wall

Interactive Installation

Commissioner: Gibson Group

Opened September 2, 2008 at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, New Zealand

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Digital Audio

Programme Notes

For this project I was commissioned by Gibson Group to create an algorithm for musical textures that organically intensified and receded in response to the number of users engaged with the vast interactive wall at anyone time. I was also commissioned to create three of the musical landscapes for the wall. One of the most enjoyable aspects of this project of this project was being asked to shoulder-tap other NZ composers to create unique landscapes for the environment as well. I approached James Duncan, Sean Donnelly (SJD), Tim Prebble, David Downes, Dugal McKinnon, and Steve Garden. Between us we created nearly a dozen unique musical environments that ebbed an flowed in relation to the intensity of engagement by users of the Wall. The video below is a promo that I also scored (and even features my son at the computer halfway through). David Downes and I also scored “The High Ride” - a high-intensity motion ride, and I was then asked to score “The Deep” an ‘underwater’ motion ride.

Ourspace is completely gone now. It was hailed as a radical interactive visitor experience at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. OurSpace won the UNESCO World Summit Award for eContent and Creativity (eLearning and Science). It used technology, photographic images and video footage to explore themes of New Zealand's identity through The Map, The Wall and two simulator rides: the Deep Ride and the High Ride. Visitors used (then) state of the art technology to generate content, creating their vision of New Zealand on The Map and The Wall. Gibson Group created the concept, design, and all interactive technology for it, from the unique accelerometer and laser mash-up tool for the 18 metre long interactive video wall, to the cool i-Pod style media database browsing applications. OurSpace was both virtual space and exhibition space, where user generated content floated alongside treasures from our national museum.

There’s no way of experiencing the way these pieces worked. But I’ve uploaded the various states for the three compositions I was responsible for to Soundcloud. Frankly, I was really intimidated by the level that the other composers brought to this project.