Point, Line, Piano
(2024, with Jaroslaw Kapuscinski)

Point Line Piano innovates the composition, performance and reception of piano music by fusing its modes of creating, playing, and listening. It does this by means of a live graphic notation so visually compelling as to constitute the entire imagery of the piece.
View a 2D excerpt here.

When you immerse yourself in Point Line Piano, you discover that your ears, eyes, and hand act in concert both with one other and with the interactive artwork itself. The start of each section begins the same way, with your hand stroking hand-drawn lines freely in the surround space of VR. As these strokes inscribe themselves in the space, the notes they spark are notched as points on the line. Rapidly accumulating, these notes form distinct melodic phrases and rhythms, which may modulate autonomously to form their own variations. In the same fashion, the computer begins to elaborate intricate geometries in response to the points and points and lines you've drawn.

The controller you hold in your hand serves you in two ways: first it becomes the paintbrush by which you create your 3D notation; then it turns into the virtual lens through which to study and transform that notation. Depending on the scene, the lens may augment your experience in different ways. It may magnify those parts of the imagery you frame at the same that it amplifies or modulates the sound of the notes it frames; or it may serve as a sort of magnet by which you can pull a given note or set of notes across the musical space, thus changing not only the pitches but the also the rhythmic structure or and the acoustic space.

As the scenes grow in complexity — there are seven of them — they each reach a point when you will want to step back and look at them in their entirety. By then, you’ve become a bit more familiar with this strange new realm of spatial imagery with its hints of calligraphy, of musical notation, and of architectural and scientific diagram, and now that you’ve set the whole thing in motion, it performs an astonishing audiovisual dance all around you, the artwork playing the musical notation you’ve co-created in a surprisingly coherent fashion. This ends the scene and ushers in the next.

Point Line Piano enables a spatial and full-body experience of abstraction that is to be found in no other medium, opening the ears and eyes of the participant to exhilarating new aspects of perception. It will likely intrigue both the innocent child and the knowledgeable adult, each of whom may find their own satisfactions as they explore the work and then ponder their experience.

This project was part funded by the Digital Score project which is funded by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Grant agreement No. ERC-2020-COG – 101002086).