Hørbar / Audiobar


Hørbar/Audiobar is a responsive environment for exploring a huge collection of audio through social interaction and tagged physical objects. You interact with the sounds using a tangible interface: By placing bottles on a table. The bottle- and bar-metaphor was chosen to facilitate social interaction between the visitors at the Hørbar/Audiobar
The environment consists of two rooms: A bar-room for playful collective interaction and a study lounge for deeper explorations in solitude.

Room 1: The bar

The bar consist of a central table and 260 bottles places on shelves.
The bottles all have colourful labels. The labels indicate the content of the bottle; one bottle can contain mostly noise, one can contain “80%vocals”, and another “20% rhythm”. There are 12 different categories of labels and they are easily recognizable by color. Some labels are black with white lettering; this type of bottle contains a “periode” – e.g. 1960-1965.
The action begins when a visitor places one or more bottles on the table. The light below the semitransparent table changing color from green to bright blue. After less than a second audio begins to play and the table is lit by white light. If other visitor places additional bottles, the table blinks again. And a track is selected that fits the combination of bottles. If all bottles are removed, the table returns to its silent state with a green illumination.

Room 2: The study

Two monitors and two set of headphones are available in a second smaller room. These monitors display the title and artist of the last 10 tracks played in the bar. When the visitor selects a track, a page gives more in deep information about this track. At the same time the track is played in the headset. The visitor can also chose to get a list of all available tracks by the same artist. These tracks can also be explored in the study

The technology

The installation is based on radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology. Each bottle is tagged with a small and inexpensive RFID-tag. The reader-hardware within the table checks which bottles are currently positioned on the table. Placing a bottle on the table initiates request to a database. This request is based on “fuzzy”logics and audio tracks in proximity to the requested value are returned. Combining bottles on the bar issues a combined request – a fuzzy “AND” operation. Up till 4 bottles can be combined at a time. This is a restriction of the range of the RFID-antenna, not the software.

The sounds

The sounds in the Hørbar/Audiobar are all from the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Roskilde, Denmark. This museum has an immense collection of international audio-art from 1890 to today. A major part of this collection has been digitized as high quality 320 Kbit/s MP3 files. These files can now be explored interacting with the Hørbar/Audiobar. The entire collection was indexed and described according to 12 bipolar emotional parameters. This was done to Jesper Steen Andersen, who spend the year 2006 listening to all the track and tried to fit them within our system of description. A special indexing software tool was developed to make this task possible.


Copyright: Vernissage.tv

The project was supported by:

The Heritage Agency of Denmark
Sound Forum Øresund
The Sonning Foundation

Thanks to:

The Museum for Contemporary Art in Roskilde, Enrico Passetti, Morten Søndergaard, Tine Seligmann, Jesper Steen Andersen, Morten Jaeger, Salomet Grafik, Trossen Robotics

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