Muon, animated speakers


Put together the Welsh designer Ross Lovergrove, KEF (a leading English company in the production of acoustic technology) and Moving Brands (the company that employs, among others, the multimedia artist Chris O’Shea), blend everything in that powerful blender that is the Salone del Mobile in Milan, and put the result in the Sala del Cenacolo in the National Science and Technology Museum. You will get a suprising ‘liquid experience’, to quote Lovergrove himself. Liquid as a shake, that is, and, indeed, this is a real sensory shake where the eighteenth century fresco paintings melt with the reverberations that two (two meters tall) aluminum speakers diffuse thanks to their organic shape (and the reflecting surface). However, the Moun (this is the name of the speakers) experience couldn’t be truly synaestetic if it didn’t involve the sense of hearing as well. O’Shea solved this problem by creating an interaction between the monochromatic lights cast on the structures, the intensity of the audio inputs and the flashes of colored light synced to the music. Thus, the sound, thanks to some frequency and peak sensors, influences the reactions of the volumetric light which, in turn, creates a relation between the visuals reflected on the speakers and the movement of the shadows in the room. The installation is composed by a huge screen (10×5 meters) resting on the floor and made of 73,728 colored LEDs. The screen was built by Creative Technologies while the LEDs are controlled by O’Shea with a Barco MiTrix system. If we put these two companies into the blender, too, we’d have the typical mix of design, high-tech and creativity that has always been the hallmark of the Salone del Mobile in Milan. After all, this product visually animates the sound not according to its structure (as it happens in VJing), but according to how they’re ‘physically’ reproduced, with the speakers, which are brought back to the center of the stage to legitimize their strategic and functional role.

Vito Campanelli