Categories: Artistic/Visual Project or Installation

Submitted by:Yong Won Choi and Ricardo Adrian Lopez Gutierrez

24 May 2023

Elevator Pitch


Respoken is an interactive light and sound installation that creates an experience from the user´s voice. A stage for self-expression manifesting the spirit in light and sound.

Product Description


Is there music behind the way we speak? Respoken is an interactive installation that creates an experience from the user’s voice. A stage for self-expression and an invitation for intimacy manifesting the spirit in light and sound. The installation makes music from the way in which the user speaks, capturing the distinct tone, pitch fluctuations, rhythm, and timbre of our voices to create a symphony from vocal expression. Users can record speech over a microphone and listen to their words become music, in synchrony with light evolving around sound. Yet the experience is only as good as the story shared. The installation provides an opportunity to recall the experiences that shape our identity and vocalize them to listen to the music behind our words. Our respective memories are infused with personal meaning, and the way we express them carry the potential to create a personal soundtrack. The user’s individual expressiveness becomes the key and structure for personalized music; thus, every interaction is unique. The emitted sound and light interaction will depend on the content and length of the original recording. The repeated audio will mirror the length of the original input, but the sound will be completely different.

How It's Innovative

Respoken is a light and sound pavilion capable of generating a unique audio-visual-spatial experience for every user. A platform where music, originated from the way in which the user speaks, has the capacity to transcend sound and fuse with light and space, controlling the presence, direction, intensity, position, and rhythm of lights. The installation advances the possibilities of contemporary performance and opens new avenues for the world of stage design. What happens when musical expression can go beyond sound and interact with the physicality of a space? New types of artistic expression are formed, perhaps even leaving room for a new kind of musician. Respoken explores the performance territory where musical values of amplitude and frequency can be transformed, in this case, converted to light, to shape both the performer´s and audience´s relationship with space.

See MIDI Innovation In Action

Most Inspiring Use Cases

The installation gives anyone, regardless of musical training or not, the ability to both express musicality and control a stage with their voice in real-time. The user´s voice charges light into lamps; the more words, the more light, and eventually, the more music; suggesting perhaps there is music in how we speak. The light and sound are faithful to the user´s recording; short recordings generate rapid notes and light ripples, and long recordings produce beautiful symphonies matching a firefly waltz. One of the more poetic uses of the piece happens after the initial light burst. Every time a user interacts with the piece, their sound sample is recorded in MIDI, building a MIDI library of previous interactions. No actual mp3 sound sample is stored, only the “musicalized” MIDI voices of previous users. When the installation is not in use, the stored “musified” voices are played to lure further contact, essentially making music from the memory of an audience, and creating a continuously evolving soundscape that lights up the dark, one lamp at a time, with one audience memory at a time.

Expansion Plans

We are looking to exhibit the piece in light festivals around the world and contemplate the evolution of the piece for this purpose. The current installation consists of 48 lamps and 1 microphone, but for future exhibitions at festivals, we are considering 72 lamps and 3 microphones to allow more interaction with an audience. Exterior use in light festivals also means we need to make the installation waterproof, frostproof, and windproof, which is currently in process.


No current commercialization plans for the Respoken piece, as it stands as an individual artistic pursuit. However, the technology and methodology can very well be adapted to any musical performance in real-time, with other instruments aside from vocals triggering different interactions in distinct interactive stages. Where multiple parameters of music not only affect visual behavior but the actual spatial performance.