Echo - Augmented GO

Collaboration with Cho-Tao Huang, Interactive Instrument, 2013

Echo is a computer program and instrument that is built for a 29 x 29 ultra large Go board like analog data input interface. While two Go players place stones on the board and game with each other, the computer instantly read and capture the pattern of game, calculating the positions of stones and estimating the situation of each side. Pre-programmed echoes will be played to reflect the everchanging state of the game as a sonification of the game. Since this customized Go board is much larger than the traditional 19 x 19 or 17 x 17 board, the varieties of the sound composition is thought to be further innumerable. 

Creative Details

This interactive sound installation includes an ultra large Go board that has a 29 x 29 grid allowing two players to place black and white stones on it with a high level of variability and possibility, compared to traditional 19 x 19 Go board. A camera mounting on the top will capture the image of the game every second and calculate the position and amount of black and white stones placed by the players, then the computer will make judgement and play different sounds to echo the situation that happens on the game board and eventually generate a complete sound composition based on human gaming.

No matter whether players are playing with these stones following or not following the rules, the abstract pattern on the board constituted by black and white stones becomes a random or thoughtful composition based on the progress of game. At the same time, although Go has a far long history than any computational tools, the music composition generated by this simulated musical instrument or interface makes Go an analog input interface for computational device. Thus, a mutual relationship between Go and code is created in this work.

Two categories of sound produced by black and white stones can be referred to the idea of yin & yang, which implies a contradictory and interdependent connection of the two. Black stones trigger the low frequency sounds that simulate human voice with common vowels, consonants, and rhythm. It is a simplified form of language, implying the primitive way of communication and that Go itself is a way of reading ideas of each other. White stones trigger the relatively high frequency sounds generated by machines and electronics. They are conflicting in a certain way, but at the same time can resonate together to generate a depth of sound space and a musical ensemble.

Technical Details

Materials: wood, stone

Fabrication: CNC Router

Software: Processing, OpenCV