Tonesight installation launches at the Painted Hall
The Old Royal Naval College is delighted to announce the installation of Tonesight, a motion-sensing musical ‘machine’ which uses music, movement and audio description to interpret the Painted Hall for the blind and visually impaired.
Tonesight can be experienced in the Painted Hall this summer from Saturday 29 June 2019.
Conceived by musician and music teacher Richard Navarro and Natural Sciences student Cal Hewitt, Tonesight is a computer based system which reacts to hand movement to play different musical motifs. Using gesture recognition technology to detect a visitor’s arm movement, the device conjures a real-time musical representation of the artwork based on the position of the user’s hands.
The music recorded has been created by a group of talented composers including students of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and the Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys. Led by Navarro, the group have carefully interpreted the artwork to write short, looped musical motifs. Each musical piece was composed and recorded onsite, with subtly varying degrees of reverb designed to enhance the experience particularly of blind and partially sighted visitors, as this communicates the Upper Hall’s scale as well as its artistic detail and vibrancy.
How does it work?
One visitor at a time can conjure music by pointing to and ‘playing’ different parts of the Upper Hall’s walls and ceiling. This is made possible through the careful fixing of motion sensors distributed around the body of the device that read the hand movements of the person within its boundary zone.
Wherever the user points on the ceiling, speakers or headphones play a corresponding sound. Pointing closer to the ceiling will ‘zoom in’ on one of the sounds, and pulling back towards the body will play more sounds together, combining the layers of sound to create a sense of the painting as a whole.
Will there be audio description available too?
A three-mode button offers each user the choice between music only, audio description with music, or audio description only.
The audio description of the Upper Hall’s various images has been recorded in collaboration with the Old Royal Naval College experts and voiced by the celebrated actress Jane Asher, providing users the option of including audio-description about certain points on the painting.
Painting the Sky performance
On the evening of 2 July, the team behind Tonesight will present a night of music, dance and film on the Greenwich Music Time outdoor stage. This free event will feature dancers and musicians of all ages from Greenwich, Lewisham and Kent, including blind and visually-impaired performers and professionals involved in this widely collaborative project. Presented also will be new pieces created especially for one of the most spectacular buildings in the world.
Advance bookings for Painting The Sky at the Greenwich Music Time Stage include a voucher code for a buy one get one half price entry to the Painted Hall. Walk-in guests on the night are also most welcome. You can book in advance here:https://ornc.digitickets.co.uk/event-tickets/22818?catID=22171 .