Poetry Hero

Installation

Complementing the Cristalloésie installation dedicated to pure creativity, Poetry Hero subjects vocal performance to strict rules and demands faultlessness. Using the codes from Sing Along – flagship U.S. musical variety show in the early 1960s – this installation invites visitors to let themselves be guided by an actor’s voice and copy their poetic phrasing by imitating the rhythm, intonation, and intensity of verses taken from major texts in French or English-speaking poetic heritage. In addition to the familiar “bouncing ball” seen in the early days of karaoke, the installation provides intense feedback that takes the forceful and gratifying form of 1980s video arcade games. Dramatic lighting effects, combo sequences and the frantic drive to score invite ‘players’ to “try again” to beat their own scores and climb to the top of the ‘Hall of Fame’.

Technique

Fully coded in JavaScript and related technologies, the installation is based on the development – over the course of 2019 – of  analytical tools capable of studying the range of possibilities in digital voice processing. This simultaneous sound analysis device (which uses   p5.sound) is then linked up – in both Cristalloésie and Poetry Hero – with a  3D drawing library (THREE.js), as well as a video game development library (Phaser.js). The two installations illustrate the lightness as much as the power of modern web technologies, both in terms of automatic signal processing and real-time data visualisation. They also demonstrate the potential of these combinations in terms of generative art and the creation of digital tracks capable of significantly documenting poetic museum performances.

Concept and realization:
Loïc Cattani, UNIL
Mélanie Lancien, UNIL 
Isaac Pante, UNIL

Programme development:
Loïc Cattani, UNIL
Isaac Pante, UNIL

Phonetic analysis:
Mélanie Lancien, UNIL 

Phonetic analysis:
Isabelle Caillat
Michel Voïta