Human Piano takes a pop culture moment and turns it into a confronting social experiment. Remember the scene from “Big” where Tom Hanks duets on a giant keyboard? In this case the keys represent both the happiness and sadness of young children. How does this change the experience and how does the public respond? Do they play faster just to see how far they will go, or do they jump away in fright?
This interactive projection takes the familiar idea of the piano keyboard and creates a public space where the disarming use of humour and “play” engages users with challenging social issues. The project is built using video projection, sound design and motion sensing, which are brought together with intelligent, interactive programming. After a few notes the keys are increasingly replaced by images of singing children while they are played. The choristers will react to how hard, soft, fast and slow their keys are hit, altering their tone and physical reaction to suit the nature of the impact. Users will be drawn into a game-like exploration of cause-and-effect as they try to decipher their role in the work and modify their impact on the singing children.