Zig Zag Muzig Block (2004-2006)

Elevator pitch
Zig Zag Muzig Block (ZZMB) is a three-block-structured interactive visual music toy. Blocks are working as the sound controller as well as the visual container. Following and upgrading the analogue mix and match character toy, ZZMB allows users to compose a new character’s moving image by mixing and matching four different singing characters by twisting around the blocks.

Connecting visuals to the musical changes through the play
ZZMB takes this physical building of visual character blocks into a new musical composition. Each top, middle and bottom block plays character’s voice, harmony (chord) and rhythm (beat) of music, which are written as parts for complete scores. When blocks are matched to compose one identical character, users can hear the specific score. Users can make variation to the music by applying different voice, chord or rhythm from other blocks.Block’s linear position controls the pitch of the sound. When a body part is separated from the rest of them as a result of sliding blocks, users not only make the visual illusion similar to zigzag lady magic, but they also make the pitch shift of the tune they are listening to.

There have been numerous projects to connect the physical activity into musical experiences. ZZMB shares this basic idea, however, it focuses on the concept that human beings are the greatest instruments themselves. Therefore, ZZMB intends to make an environment where the interactivity does not overwhelm the performersí virtue but only enhances the fun aspect of the performances. It is adapting the economic format of three-bloc-system from the analogue mix and match character toy and successfully upgrades it into an interactive system. Currently being built in a life-size scale, ZZMB (version 2.0) tries to be near the real human performances.

Scene of Interaction
Rotating Block will change the image of the character and change the tune at the same time.
Sliding block will move the body part from the rest of them, and will make a pitch shift of the tune.

Documentation video (You need to turn on the speakers)

Old documentation of project development ZZMB 2004 version documentation

Technology
ZZMB is currently built on custom-built electronic circuit (basic-programmed Pic Microcontroller and sensors) and connects the circuit-running blocks(built with plexis) to Computer (software written with Max/MSP/Jitter) through Midi connection. It makes use of image projection and sound processing.

Performers / writers Original score and rap of ZZMB (version 1.5) is written by composer Gihieh Lee and writer Aaron Jafferis.

Exhibition history
ITP show: Spring 2004
Displayed at ITP floor: Summer 2004
Mattel College Design Expo (Awarded “most sensorial toy”): July 2004
IMC Expo @ Chelsea Art Museum: April 2005
Turn Me on [Ask the Robot] produced by Pursue The Pulse : May 2005
Beyond TV @ The Museum of Television and Radio, New York : June – August 2006

Press coverage
NY1 Technology: New Art Exhibit Features Makes Creative Use Of Multimedia: April 2005
NY1 Arts: Interactive Exhibit Showcases Future Of Home Entertainment : July 2006