Mapping Clapping. Five Months of Claps
14 July 2014
The sound frequency of an hand clap is typically within the 2200 to 2800 hertz range.
A webcam with a build-in microphone fixed on a wall reacts to every sound in this frequency range taking a picture. Anyone clapping his hands loud enough and not too far away from the camera can activate the process. All the pictures taken are saved on a Dropbox folder and are posted automatically on a Tumblr blog through an IFTTT recipe with a small delay, a sort of digital development time due to the intrinsic limits of the technologies involved. The blog is public, shared with no rights reserved on the pictures, and accessible also on site through an iPad fixed on the wall below the camera.
This is Claps, an interactive installation by Designer and Maker Saria Digregorio, launched in February 2014 as part of The Manipulated Image, a collective exhibition of works produced by experimenting with different methods of creating a photographic image. After the end of the exhibition, Claps has never been uninstalled and five months later it's still at NAE in the Central Gallery collecting photos of all the people playing with it.
Claps enables the subject of the picture to be at the same time the photographer, shifting the the manipulation of the digital image outside the camera, in the physical world. The set up allows to take control of a range of effects through gestures and movements as suggested by an arrow on the floor and a caption on the wall next the to camera: clapping once to take a photo, clapping repeatedly to get a series, getting closer to the camera or stepping back to zoom in and out, moving around to change the angle, moving quickly to blur the final result, finding tricks to pose while forced to move to activate the camera.
The aim is to create a playful short circuit between analogue and digital, between controlling the process of taking photos and being photographed.
One side effect of Claps is that the blog is becoming a sort of visual mapping of the culturally and ethnically diverse audience gathering each day at NAE. Since when the installation is running, almost 2000 pictures have already been taken: people visiting the exhibitions or attending the events, family and groups taking part to the workshops, internal team wanting to break the office routine, children of the neighborhood who come to play after school, artists and curators joining to become part of the future programme, collaborators that now have left, random visitors that nobody has ever seen before, and much more, even the NAE's vacuum cleaner, that apparently makes a noise with a frequency similar to a hand clap, therefore it's able to take a picture as well.
If you fancy having a flip through faces, grimaces, smiles, please take a look at allyourclaps.tumblr.com, in constant updating.