Project Description

An interactive sound structure erected by digital participation.

Using sound and community participation, Jellyfish transforms the entire Frank Ozawa Plaza into a virtual building, using people as the vertical support and audio transmissions as the connecting beams and rafters. Jellyfish is a playful, interactive, distributed sound installation for mobile devices. Audience members connect by visiting a website, which plays sound from their device’s speakers. Sounds can be triggered by the audience members by pressing buttons on their screens, and can also be triggered by one or more performers.

The two main motivations behind Jellyfish are social and artistic. First, anybody who participates becomes both audience and performer, and thus becomes more engaged with the music. Secondly, the diffusion of sound over a number of small speakers opens up a variety of sonic possibilities. All participants of Our City are invited to play, interact, and create the sonic architecture, challenging the definitions of what is public space as well as the boundaries of performer and viewer.

Jellyfish and Obelisk is an in-Oakland, by-Oakland, for-Oakland project which specifically addresses unity and community—as performers and participants become one, social prejudices are removed, giving Oakland a one people-one voice experience. Jellyfish also challenges the idea of space and the physicality of it, breaking down the perception of what public space is and how we interact with it. In every public space, it is not only the physical structures which are encountered, but most importantly, and more subtly, it is the sounds which unify the populace…busses, sirens, traffic, music as experienced by all people everywhere—Jellyfish and Obelisk brings this soundscape to the forefront and reveals the importance of both noise and silence in the public sphere.