Moritz Simon Geist created the robotic instrument, Vibrations, to play soothing, minimal music in a futuristic way using robotics. The installation is based on the instrument vibraphone, deconstructing the sound and the physical shape of this classic jazz instrument. The sound of the robot is generated by tuned aluminium bars, controlled by a complex distributed robotic actuator system.
The sound is multifaceted, ranging from gloomy chords to high and concise melodies. The compositions are influenced by composers like Terry Riley, John Adam, Steve Reich and Harry Partch.
During his EMAP - European Media Art Platform residency at Ars Electronica Center, Moritz Simon Geist created compositions with a generative composition algorithm, which are then played by the installation both in concert and in an exhibition environment.
None of the sounds in this instrument are played by humans, but by 36 small robotic actuators. The mechanics introduce slight variations in sound and rhythm, which are organic in contrast to calculated computer generated sounds. On the other hand, the robots are precise enough to play repetitive structures that no human could ever reproduce. This creates a new sound form (“robotic electronic music”) which is both organic and mechanical.
In Zagreb, the work is presented as a performance in which the robot and algorithms are manipulated by hand, exploring the symbiotic character of the installation.