Replay Open Score

REPLAY OPEN SCORE is a rule based interaction that transforms social interactions along a continuum from competition to cooperation into corresponding musical soundscapes. The musical soundscapes psychologically feedback into the social interaction, thereby intensifying the social athmospheres. The basic configuration of the installation is derived from the work “Open Score” by Robert Rauschenberg and the reference in the title is an homage to this work. The REPLAY OPEN SCORE installation has been developed further, however, to create a very fast social interaction, which involves a great deal of automatic processing in the players/performers. Whereas the 1966 work by Rauschenberg and scientists from the Bell Telephone Laboratories was set up as a tennis game and thus relatively slow, the current work is based on a ping pong interaction with a table reduced in size to further increase the interactive frequency.


 Year the initial version of the work was created: 2007

Rauschenberg had adopted the tennis match, and turned it into a musical performance. Each time Frank Stella and his tennis partner, Mimi Kanarek, hit the ball on a full-scale court a loud BONG was amplified from the rackets, making their interaction seem musical, and their behavior dancelike. The reduced size of the REPLAY OPEN SCORE installation and the resulting higher interaction frequency encourage a highly engaging interaction, which is motivated by the sonification of the play. Whenever the ball touches anything, or flies through defined zones in space, it triggers certain musical events. Different musical sounds correspond to different locations on the ping pong table or in the space above.

The simultaneous pairing of musical effects with the behavior of the ball also has a psychological effect on the players. They begin to perceive that the ball has altered acoustic properties. For example, if the ball repeatedly triggers a deep bass drum when it touches the table surface, the players will rather perceive it as heavier over time. In this manner, different musical effects “give” the ball different perceived properties. The high alert mental state that is a prerequisite to the often rather fast and reflexlike actions and the repetitive nature of the ping pong may create the sensation that the ball has its own sense of agency, mediating as a messenger between the players, acoustically reflecting the dimension between competition and cooperation towards a joint aesthetic experience.