Let me introduce you to Scott Snibbe, a media artist who likes to play around with music and interactivity. He had spent 30 years creating useless programs (his own words) and being jealous of writers because they can actually sell their products.

Björk you probably already know. She is a classically trained musician from Iceland who defines music as "sound + generosity". She had created six albums and during the process became increasingly frustrated with the limits of the way music is visualized traditionally, namely by means of notation. 

With the birth of the iPad, Scott and Björk were bound to meet. For Scott this device constituted a means to distribute his work and for Björk it was the perfect opportunity to indulge in the possibilities created by digital music tools.

Together they created an iPad application called "Biophilia", a synthesis of four ingredients: music, nature, interaction and technology. It presents a 3D universe in which each constellation equates one song. Zooming into a constellation opens an app with multiple features that are designed for that particular song. The song "Crystalline" for example, returns a crystal collecting game where users tilt their iPad to move through musical tunnels so that while collecting crystals they create their own version of Crystalline at the same time. This app also opens up a karaoke sing-a-long version of the song, a mute version which functions as traditional sheet music and a colorful, intuitive kind of visualizing music that both Björk and her choir use as a teleprompter. 

According to reviewers of the app, Biophilia brings music lovers back to the engaging, immersive experience of listening to a CD while physically leafing through the booklet with artwork. Scott argues that this attention-rewarding experience re-establishes a "falling in love relationship" with music, as opposed to the current "casual relationship" that we have with listening to music. The app being a digital artifact creates an extra layer on top of it and empowers artists to present themselves, their costumes and their music as an artistic interactive totality.

Biophilia will be released officially on 11 October.

--Anke Hans

With the introduction of PICNIC Stories, PICNIC goes beyond the event. Like the festival, PICNIC Stories is all about sharing: inspiration, new ideas, different opinions, and knowledge. If you have Stories to share get in touch with us at stories@picnicnetwork.org



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