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Interactive Lighting in the Pearl


Hattwick, Ian and Marcelo M. Wanderley (2015). “Interactive Lighting in the Pearl: Considerations and Implementation”. In: Proceedings of Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression. Baton Rouge, LA, USA, pp. 201-204.


The Pearl being held by a dancer.

The Pearl being used by Krystina Marcoux and Bryan Eliason. Photo by Julien Leroy.

The Pearl is a multi-modal computer interface initially conceived as an interactive prop for a multi-artistic theatrical performance. It is a spherical hand-held wireless controller embedded with various sensor technologies and interactive lighting. The lighting was a key conceptual component in the instrument’s creation both as a theatrical prop and also as an interface for musical performance as it helps to address conceptual challenges and opportunities posed by the instrument’s spherical form.

This paper begins by providing a brief description of the Pearl and its use as a spherical instrument. We then discuss mapping the Pearl both to generate sound and control its interactive lighting, and identify different strategies for its use. Strategies we identify include feedback regarding performer gesture, information about the state of the instrument, and use as an aesthetic performance component.


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