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Piano as an Image Media

Toshio Iwai :: Piano – As Image Media [1995]

This work combines a real grand piano and computer generated moving images. A player can compose simple melodies visually using a trackball interface to position and place »dots« on a moving grid on the lower projection screen. These dots constitute a virtual score, which triggers the piano keys, which in turn project computer-generated images on the upper screen. In this way the piano itself seems to become transformed into image media – a flow of image depresses the piano’s keys, which as a consequence release yet another flight of images.

Type of Work

Interactive installation


· Concept and realization: Toshio Iwai

· Production: ZKM | Institute for Visual Media


Silicon Graphics Indigo2 Extreme

Commodore Amiga 2000 with Accelerator board 68030 CPU/ Multi serial board/ MIDI interface data projector, video projector

2 semi-transparent projections screens

MIDI grand piano

trackball on plinth


custom software written in C

custom software written in Basic

With the help of a trackball, draw a dotted line on a surface, these points go up to touch the piano keys, which in turn also emit a musical note, a visual effect with the melody line.