Machine Yearning [2014]

Machine Yearning was a performance with the Princeton Laptop Orchestra (PLOrk), Jeff Snyder, Axel Kilian, Ryan Johns, and Charlie Avis, in April 2014 at Princeton University.

An ABB industrial robot arm housed inside a glass cube was mic’d with piezos under the robot’s six motors, and a score was composed for which the motors would be rotated at the precise speeds needed to make the melody. The robot’s coordinates were streamed in real-time and a modified version of KinectProjectorToolkit was used to projection map the robot arm as it vigorously flailed around in its cube. Full source code here.

We also published a paper on the production of Machine Yearning in the 2015 proceedings of New Instruments for Musical Expression (NIME).