cautiousoptimism QR codes for music or interaction

This experiment is a simple proof-of-concept: what's required to trigger or control audio from information stored in QR codes - like those used for advertising or interactives:

QR barcodes in music from Felt Making Workshop on Vimeo.

here is the wikipedia article for QR Codes

Knowledge or inspiration gained here can be applied to many forms of media & also many different performance or audience-interactive situations. I'm aiming for a minimal system which will demonstrate the basics of moving data around - from a stored form to activate a simple audio circuit - though the activity of a performer.

The purpose of the barcode form is to store information is a reliable fashion for interrogation & retrieval by a scanner - be it a piece of specialised hardware or a some software running on a camera-equipped mobile phone.

For me, the notable aspects of QR codes are:

* data-storage objects whose container or medium is is not beyond raw human perception - i.e. invisible, silent, intangible - as with wired & wireless data

* there is an attractive element of visual composition involved (which doesn't seem to me to be entirely by chance)

* the message in the code is not decipherable until actually scanned

There's a great deal that could be discussed & launched from even these simple & incomplete observations. There's already a considerable amount of existing ideas & work as this format has been taken up as a common component of adverting and also appeared in plenty of interactive artworks (as well as a utilitarian element in arts exhibition design).

Cutting to the chase, I imagine a situation where one might create a modular score for some kind of musical work utilising QR codes as the storage element:

* 'modular' in that the codes can be accessed in any order that the performer desires or the artist (or indeed, the 'system') specifies

* a 'score' in the sense that this is data-storage that is unpacked to trigger or influence an unfolding art work.

The technology involved in making this happen is not at all exotic but I'm only going to summarise here:

* each QR code contains (as is typical for the great majority of deployments) a URL with some data - the query-string - appended at the end

* a free barcode-scanner application installed on an android phone which is joined to a wifi network

* the decoded URL accesses a web server running on a laptop on the same wifi net - passing the query-string values to some logic in the server

* which passes the values to audio-generating software on the same machine- emitting the sound

© cautiousoptimism - Ashley Scott