Donate Light - A Collective instrument
Juha Perä

Due to the pandemic our recent experiences have been mostly happening digitally and online. Like many others I have been wondering a lot about shared moments and my relationship with culture and media. As it has been shown the live aspect of many events is still hard to translate digitally although there has been enormous progress in the field in a short amount of time. The thing that is the most exciting for me about creating something together is that it happens temporarily in that very moment and is determined by the people experiencing it. Through our time spent learning about technology and its effects on our environment this fall, I was inspired to create something that is to be shared physically and outside of the digital realm of recorded media.

Donate light is a network and blockchain inspired sound installation that requires people to donate their energy to play the whole piece. It is a prototype of a collective instrument meant to be played by one to three persons at a time. The energy required from the spectators is a light source such as a mobile device or a flashlight. There is a light sensor beside each of the three cylinders which activates a motor that plays a rhythm. The speed of the rhythm varies depending on the amount of energy it receives. If none of the sensors are activated the installation is supposed to be silent. The composition changes and lives through how much light is donated and at what time they are activated. The end result is shared and defined by the active participants and is unique every time it is played due to the nature of human contribution. With the instrument's interface I wanted to give an option of when and if to participate and for people to think about our usage of energy in our daily activities.

This first prototype is made from OSB wood board and cardboard pipes. These materials are typically used in the casting of heavy concrete structures. Opposed to a concrete structure it is a temporary installation. It is an idea of an abstract instrument in a temporary material form which is meant to inspire moments of improvising together. This is why I chose not to design the structure any more than it needed for it to function and be safe for the spectators. Apart from some of the electronics, all of the materials were collected from recycling bins around the Väre school workshops. After the exhibition is over the electronic components that enable the prototype to work will hopefully be reused as part of some other installation or artwork in the future.

I encourage the spectators of the exhibition to try play the instrument together with others and improvise with how it reacts to the amount of energy it receives.