PROJECT #0376: Interactive MIDI LED

Truffula Tree Forest

Walking into the installation the eyes behold a sea of glowing rainbow trees.  Approaching closer, the ears hear soft ambient soundscapes, as if the trees themselves were giggling and singing—all alive with sound and light and wonder!  The grass is lush and comfortable seating seems to grow straight from the ground.  The trees are out of this world; black horizontal jagged stripes on slender stalks of off-white yellow, tuffs of pastel cotton float atop like dandelion spores. 



Below is the 'brain box' powering the truffula tree.  A 3D printed PLA plastic enclosure with truffula tree detail housing an open source Arduino circuit board, running the 144 RGB Neopixel strip, 12ohm 3watt speaker board, ping/echo proximity sensor and capacitive touch tree stripes, serving as the interactive user controllers.


Each tree's controller stripes are diametrically split to create 16 (4x4) rather than 8 possible notes and color morphing algorithms.  Multiple trees will multiplex the MIDI interface, and shift down individual trees, turning two trees into 64 (8x8) possible notes and algorithms.  If users hold hands to touch controller pads of separated trees simultaneously, additional multiplexing occurs.  The more trees; the more possibilities!  A forest of trees becomes an orchestra of musical instruments, with infinite combinations of harmonically tuned music and lights, incorporating the healing tones of solfeggio frequencies.


The installation will slowly degrade over time, with each tree being replaced with an UNLESS gravestone marker, reminding us all the cost of humanity’s ‘th-needing.’  The mood and music of the trees will also shift as the loss continues, growing more dissonant in tone and light patterns as more trees are lost to ‘progress.’  The marketing presence of the deforestation will be represented in a large wooden framed LCD billboard erected from the stalks of the truffula trees, growing from where they once stood.  A different kind of graphic advertising will be displayed on this board, one hard to look at, or away from.


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