At One Net Studios, we’re always thinking about how to spread ideas in new and different ways. We seek to challenge conventions, believing that ‘trajectory’ does not always mean upward, it sometimes means outward. Does that sound both abstract and impossibly nerdy? Well, maybe you just need to meet two guys who make interactive sound-responsive art out of salvaged antique cash registers.
The kind of art that Monkey C Interactive creates is insanely cool. Not only does it resemble nothing you’ve ever seen before (sometimes you can’t even see it) Monkey C’s installations start conversations and get grownups playing together again – in real life. How refreshing is that?
If you live here in Victoria, you’ve probably already crossed paths with a Monkey C project. Some recent installations include The Amazing Philliphone for Phillips Brewery, a salvaged 1889 Chicago Pump Organ that plays beer cans and bottles; Cubelandia, a sound-responsive interactive LED cube display made from old shipping containers, created for this year’s Thinklandia; and the Registroid, a “mutant vintage cash register that is a playable, interactive electrohouse looping machine” which first appeared at Victoria’s Tedx 2014.
Nicole and I picked the clever brain of David Parfit, one half of Monkey C (business partner is local writer/creator/’limitless idea machine’ Scott Amos) to discover how their modern reinventions of old objects create a unique kind of ‘audience impact’.
What about how people interact with your creations interaction do you find the most fascinating?
DP: I think that we like to see adults play. One reward is watching people interacting with the art piece, yet also with each other through how they cooperate to use the art.
How do projects like yours create an experience that resonates with people?
DP: We spend a lot of time interacting with the outside worlds ‘internally’ – via phone, Facebook, etc. But we all want relationships with people. We all value them. When people cooperate with each other in the context of the art, like the Interactive Stairwell, for example, they get a lot more out of it, rather than just walking by a piece of static art. And, it’s unexpected. We want there to be multilevel interaction.
How do people figure out how to make the pieces work? Do you leave instructions?
DP: We like seeing how people explore the art. We don’t leave instructions; if someone asks, we might give them a tidbit or two, but we never tell them what to do. That way it’s authentic.
What’s been your favourite Monkey C project to date?
DP: Probably the Registroid, because I got to write a lot of music for it, and watching people interact with that one has been the most gratifying. Scott said he walked by the Registroid at BassCoast at 4:30am, and there was a dance party of about 35 people.
Any new projects on the horizon?
DP: At the moment, we’re working on an interactive sound-triggered installation in the Yates St. Parkade stairwell. It’s our hope that people will return to the space over and over again to play and experiment with how they can change the sounds by coordinating their movements and steps.
This year, the stairwell will be playing a few different sound banks, but there’s potential for so much more – it could easily become a medium for additional artists. We’ve already been approached by musicians asking to create something for the stairwell. There’s lots of possibility there. We also have another project in the works, which we’ll be announcing in the new year.
Can you tell us about it?
DP: No.* [Laughs]
*Editor’s Note: But we’ve been promised an all-access tour when said mystery project launches next spring. So keep our blog in your bookmarks bar (it’s already there, right?) so you won’t miss the news!