Interactive sound installation. Army tent, rug, cushions, computer and monitor, bowls, stones, headphones.

The Tipping Point is an interactive installation exploring the hierarchies of relationships using sensor-based technology and Max/MSP/Jitter.

Entering the tent, one finds headphones on two cushions on a rug, with wooden bowls of stones facing one another and the space lit only by a video monitor showing a flickering candle. Participants each sit on a cushion, put the headphones on, and find themselves in a heightened sonic situation; moving the stones between the bowls causes a sound tinged with feedback; in fact, any sound, including their voice, is extended and fed back. The more imbalanced the stones become (as measured by the weight of the two bowls) or the louder the sounds become, the more the candle flickers.

At a certain point – the tipping point – the sonic or power imbalance triggers a sudden change in the sound and video: a flashing red light and the sound of a heartbeat. After a random period of time (less than a minute), the sound and video return to where they were before the interruption.

Many thanks go to Dan Trueman and Perry Cook for their help in making The Tipping Point a reality.