I.D.E.A. Museum Soundscape

An interactive environment that creates sound in response to movement and position of kids within a geodesic dome. Uses the kinect api to track the positions of head, torso, feet, and hands on up to 6 humans simultaneously. UDP to Max, and separate this into spatialized zones with designated loops and different interactions within each one; i.e. jump to splash in the pond, wave your arms to knock birds out of trees, dance to ask more and more drummers to join in the circle, and draw large circles with your arms to play chimes. There is also an underwater world with mermaids, bubbles, seagulls, whales, and rushing water.
The soundscape exhibit was on display at the I.D.E.A. Museum in Mesa, AZ from feb 2014 to jan 2018.
In july 2019, I began reinstalled a new version of the soundscape, named the Zen Den, completely revised with a new focus on meditation and listening.

Kinect, Max, MIDI, found sounds, recorded sounds, synths, surround sound speakers
thanks to Xiao Wang for the Kinect api access


The I.D.E.A. Museum project grew out of a smaller project working with the Kinect to sonify specific body movements in an attempt to facilitate physical therapy and improve engagement and outcomes for patients. At some point while working on this project, I realized that the Kinect sensor was giving much more information than I was using, and that I could use it to create a whole room of sounds, rather than just react to one person’s isolated movements.

I wanted to create a space of enchantment that would engage participants by giving them both an aesthetically pleasing experience and a sense of being surrounded by magic. I chose to use just sound for this experience because it would provide access to an “invisible” world and not constrain the participant to using their overplayed sense of vision.


The project was housed at the I.D.E.A. Museum in Mesa, AZ in a  geodesic dome and accommodates up to 6 tracked users at a time, responding to both their position within the space and movements of their body. The installation has been up since February 2014; for the first 2 years the soundscape was an enchanted forest, containing bells, birds, pond splashes, frogs, and drums. In February of 2016, I did a remake of the sounds into an underwater world; you can swim, reach up to the surface of the ocean, listen to whales and singing mermaids, and conduct musical bubbles. 

The prompt displayed to visitors invites them to explore, listen and move, without specific information so that it invites imagination and exploration and gives each person with the experience of discovering the sound world for themselves.

Forest soundscape prompt:
Come inside and find the sounds of the invisible enchanted forest. use your ears instead of your eyes, as you move through the space. what kind of sounds can you hear?

Soundscape is an interactive sound and movement activity. it is meant to encourage movement of the body, inspire exploration of sound and space, and most of all, ignite the imagination. several sound areas are located throughout the space and can be found by walking, jumping, waving, dancing, and moving about the space.

Ocean soundscape prompt:
Listen. can you hear it? use your ears and your body to find the sounds of the invisible underwater world. walk, jump, wave and pretend to swim through the space. what kinds of sounds do you hear?

Soundscape is an interactive sound and movement activity that is meant to ignite the imagination. encouraging body movement, it inspires exploration of sound and space.