Three Pieces is a sound installation by Edinburgh-based art collective Found, a group best known for works involving ’emotional robotics”.
Three Pieces is designed as a collaboration between robots, traditional instruments, and living things, housed in Victorian Palm House of the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh.
A traditional Chinese dulcimer is played by a robot with many bamboo fingers while the surrounding foliage hides an ensemble of robotic chimes. Despite being separate individuals, the robots communicate and perform together.
The robot performers are ‘conducted’ by the living things in the Palm House. The moisture content of the soil changes slowly as the plants absorb water, while on a much faster timescale, the temperature changes in the building as animals, including humans, move about. The installation detects this living presence in the Palm House and the music changes accordingly. The robots react to humans, but their ‘mood’ alters with the plants.
The work is an interesting synthesis of ideas from ambient and generative music with artificial intelligence and robotics.