SimpleTEXT is a collaborative audio/visual public perfor-mance that relies on audience participation through input from mobile devices such as phones, PDAs or laptops. SimpleTEXT focuses on dynamic input from participants as essential to the overall output. The performance creates a dialogue between participants who submit text messages, which control the audiovisual output of the installation. These messages are first parsed according to a code that dictates how the music is created, and then rhythmically drive a speech synthesizer and a picture synthesizer in order to create a compelling, collaborative audiovisual performance.
To date, SimpleTEXT has been shown 12 times in 8 countries across Europe and North America.
SimpleTEXT focuses on mobile devices and the web as a bridge between networked interfaces and public space. As mobile devices become more prolific, they also become separated by increased emphasis on individual use. The SimpleTEXT project looks beyond the screen and isolated usage of mobile devices to encourage collaborative use of input devices to both drive the visuals and audio output, inform each participant of each other’s interaction, and allows people to actively participate in the performance while it happens. Our purpose with the performance is to create the possibility of large-scale interaction through anonymous collaboration, with immediate audio and visual feedback. SimpleTEXT encourages users to respond to one another’s ideas and build upon the unexpected chains of ideas that may develop from their input.
SimpleTEXT is a rare example of an interactive piece that works in crowded public spaces such as social and unruly atmospheres where heckling, irony, criticism, and sarcasm are common modes of communication. We are unaware of such a large-scale interactive piece in terms of scale of audience interaction, where the interaction is as tangible, direct, and therefore individually satisfying.
SimpleTEXT is created by “Family Filter”, a collaboration between Jonah Brucker-Cohen, Tim Redfern, and Duncan Murphy. It was originally funded by a commission from Low-Fi, a new media arts organization based in London, UK.