Introduction: The JellyFish: Improvisable Immersive Group Sound Experience
You can make The JellyFish with junk laying around, or buy all the parts for about $100.
“The Jellyfish” is a mobile immersive improvisable augmented soundality experience that we brought to Phantasmagoria last week.
5 headphones dangle from an umbrella and users wander while singing and making noises which are remixed along with any ambient sounds into a song in their ears.
I first built it for Kawandeep Virdee's interactive sound art showcase in Somerville in 2010, and I later recreated it on the fly with Erik Thorstensson on the streets of NYC in 2015. Also showcased with Eric Rosenbaum when we cobbled it together minutes before arriving at Dream City in Portola Valley in 2020.
- Umbrella (clear is nice, or rainbow/unicorn/etc.)
- 5-way headphone splitter (or 4 two-way headphone splitters)
- 5 Headphones (wired)
- An iphone or iOS device (or any other device but "Hear" app is only for iOS at time of publishing)
- A lightning to 3.5mm converter or similar (if your device doesn't have an oldschool headphone jack)
- Tape (optional but useful)
- Sock (off your foot is fine, optional but useful)
- Blinky lights (optional)
Step 1: Connect Wires
Open your Umbrella
Plug your Headphone converter (if you needed one) into your headphone splitter (if you have multiple 2-way headphone splitters chain them together so you can have 5 headphone outputs)
Weave your headphones throough the metal structure of the umbrella so that all headphone earbuds dangle near the outside ring of the umbrella, and all of the headphone connector stems are near the middle of the umbrella at the top
Plug your headphones male ends into your headphone splitter females
Optional: Add blink'y lights to your umbrella (bike lights or beyond)
Step 2: Get Device/App Going
Download and install "Hear" from app store (used to be called rjdj)
Plug your device into the headphone splitter and plug a pair of headphones into your ears
Adjust sliders on the app while making sounds with your mouth and hands until things sound fun
Push device into sock (optional)
Attach or balance or pin device in the top of the umbrella framework on the inside (use tape as needed)
Step 3: Walk Around and Engage Friends and Soon-to-be-friends
Hold umbrella up and walk around at a party or on the street
Gesture toward people, offer headphone, or say "would you like to hear magic?"
Once someone joins seed the sound space by humming, snapping, beatboxing, saying "welcome" etc.
When complete wish your participants 1000 adventures (aka a kilo-adventure)