Boletus [boh-lee-tuh s] is a multi-user interactive musical installation consists of mushroom shaped interactive instruments with projected visuals, embodying an experience designed to nurture the value of musical co-creation.
Hosted in a dimmed room, the installation welcomes users to interact through pressing and turning the devices. Each mushroom instrument generates melodic beats and different projections. Through exploration and collaboration, users will create their unique sonic experience along with each other.
The setting of the installation space is a magical, mystical mushroom forest where audience would encounter larger than actual size mushroom-shaped devices and interact with them through different ways.
Collaboration is one of the rooted components within the driving force and outcome of Boletus. We wanted to create an experience where our audience can collaborate with each other by exploring the installation space.
The main lighting and projected visuals are driven by a unified color palette: amethyst purple, apricot, and turquoise.
The sounds in this project simulate a therapeutic ambience of a dark night in nature. All sounds are created with the possibility to harmony effortlessly due to any interval by the collaboration between participants.
Boletus consists of a set of physical computing elements with interactive audio and projected visual displays. As the lead technician on the team, I am responsible for selecting the digital tools and developing the interactions, visuals, and sonic outputs.
The interactions are handled with an Arduino micro-controller board through digital input units. The board sends interaction inputs to Processing through serial communication, to start visual displays projected with Madmapper. In the meantime, live-generated sounds are created with Sonic Pi through OSC.
The appearances of fungus and characteristics like soft and bounciness led us to using silicone and mycelium. Mycelium is the vegetative part of fungus, and is often seen as a sustainable and biodegradable replacement for styrofoam or other plastic material for making containers. We molded the silicone and grew mycelium into the interactive mushroom caps.
Yanwen Dong - software & hardware development, sound production, installation
Rian Ishikawa - project management, hardware support, installation
Phoebe Zheng - design & concept, projection mapping, installation
Sky Ta - design & concept, user-testing, interaction design, installation
Lillian Crandall - design & concept, installation