Senses: Design Beyond Vision

KunstLab and Studio Roos Meerman present Tactile Orchestra at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York.

From 13 April through 28 October a site specific version of Tactile Orchestra will be part of the exhibition “The Senses: Design Beyond Vision”. Tactile Orchestra is an installation that translates touch into sound, exploring a cross-over between smart textiles, user experience and performance.

“The Senses: Design Beyond Vision” reveals how sensory design can solve problems and enhance life for all people, including those with sensory disabilities.

Custom made for the “The Senses”, the piece for Cooper Hewitt will span a six meter width, and as such will be the biggest version of the installation ever made. Roos Meerman and Tom Kortbeek, the creators of the project, see this redesign as an excellent opportunity to innovate in shape and size, as well as in sound. Using a wide range of fragments drawn from a special session with Dutch orchestra Zapp4 and DJ Jan Bang, the larger than ever diversity in possible outcomes will enhance the user experience.

Tactile Orchestra consists of a soft, furry surface that reacts to touch. When stroked, the interaction causes a range of sounds, that can be explored throughout the fabric. Through collaboration, multiple participants together create a symphony, treating the fabric as their orchestra. Tom Kortbeek (KunstLab): “Participation and collaboration are often mentioned as key solutions to societal issues. But what does it really mean to join in, to get involved? What is the best way to work together and collectively discover new things? Tactile Orchestra explores these questions in a playful and approachable way.”