"Instead of dancing to prerecorded music and images, or passively watching a performance, members of the audience become participants," said Ryan Ulyate of Synesthesia, SIGGRAPH 98 Interactive Dance Club chair. "Within interactive zones located throughout the club, participants influence music, lighting, and projected computer graphics images. We have zones for single participants, dual participants, and groups of participants. Like sections in an orchestra, output from the interactive zones combines with a pre-defined basic rhythm to form the overall performance. Moving from zone to zone, participants experience different blends of musical and visual elements."
A sophisticated system of hardware and software keeps all the zones in sync while analyzing and filtering participant input, in order to deliver a musically coherent and visually satisfying experience. Feedback to the participants is designed to be immediate and responsive.
Interactive Dance Club Themes
Several musical and visual elements can be modified by participants in the various interactive zones. The content in each zone is unified by a "theme." Four interactive themes were introduced at SIGGRAPH 98:
Are the Tiki Gods Angry?
(based on world music)
Awake In The Dream
(based on ambient music)
(based drum & bass music)
Yesterday's World of Tomorrow
(based on acid jazz music)
Interactive Dance Club Zones
Eight interactive zones were located throughout the Interactive Dance Club:
The Beam Breaker zone consists of parallel light beams above people's heads on a dance floor with sensors that detect when a beam has been broken. Participants control aspects of the lighting and trigger musical phrases.
Look for the hottest people on the dance floor. Literally! A state-of-the-art infrared video camera is focused on an area of the dance floor. The location of participants within this zone affects aspects
of the surrounding environment. Visual feedback is provided by projecting the infrared image on a large screen.
Stomp is a two-person zone characterized by lots of physical motion. Participants interact by dancing and stomping on floor-mounted pads. Discrete pad hits and the level of activity in different areas within the zone control music and projected computer graphics.
Participants step up onto a platform two feet above the dance floor and enter a cone of light. Once inside the cone, they interact by extending their arms and breaking the surrounding light beam, casting a shadow on a circular array of sensors embedded in the platform below. This controls the music in the immediate vicinity.
The Meld Orbs are two four-foot-diameter spheres placed approximately 12 feet apart. Mounted on the surface of each Orb are nine near-field proximity sensors. Up to three participants interact with each Orb to affect sound and projected computer graphics imagery.
Reach is a one-person zone positioned on a raised platform. A video camera captures the participant's image, which is processed in real time, generating a computer graphics kaleidoscope. The participant must reach in order to touch four trigger pads positioned in a half-circle. Each pad controls an aspect of the kaleidoscope and sound in the immediate vicinity.
Participants rotate two wheels mounted on a horizontal bar to affect projected computer graphics. A pair of foot pedals allows the participant to change which aspects of the computer graphics the wheels are controlling.
Tweak is a one-person zone in which the participant interacts with two infrared proximity sensors and four overhead beam breakers. These interactions affect music and projected computer graphics.