The Cave of Sounds (2013)


The Cave of Sounds by Tim Murray-Browne is an interactive sound installation which comprises 8 digital musical instruments (DMIs) arranged in a circle. The installation encourages people to experiment with different sounds in a community setting, blurring the conventional barrier between performers and their audiences.

Digital musical instruments are often created as solo instruments, as our technological advances allow for one-man-band instruments. This characteristic is distinctive from traditional instruments, which were then created in order to work as a collection. However, in order to recognize a DMI as originating from tradition but still holding its own identity, Murray-Browne and his team designed the instruments in order for them to be expressive artefacts of the creators as well as artefacts belonging to an ensemble.

The instruments are networked together, receiving and transmitting messages to one another allowing the audience to identify when they are communicating with each other. A software adjusts individual sounds in order for them to harmoniously synchronize, and to project this convergence onto a central projection. The Cave of Sounds thus explores, through new media, the prehistoric origins of collective music creation, allowing the audience to interact and create a new collective identity.

Every instrument was designed as an embodiment of the artist’s practice, and finely tuned in order to have them co-exist as an ensemble. The crafted instruments were made to be simple in order to accommodate a broader audience, whose musical skills may be limited. Therefore, the instruments interfaces only allow the user to use it in one particular way, in order to engage with one sensor. Each instrument is found on a pedestal, with a short instruction on how to use it. For example, one is an accelerometer in a sphere, with the following instruction : “Spin n’ Shake”. Another is inspired by the theremin, two use light, one operates with skin conductivity and another recognized body movements.