Typically, at a concert, we expect the performers to be people. Here, humans share the bill with a chorus of cube-shaped robots.
Echoooooooo, an “eight-channel robotic choir,” was created by PanGenerator, an art and design collective based in Warsaw. Sing into a microphone, and the eight mechanized speakers wend and wiggle in response, their movements dictated by the frequency and amplitude of your voice. The channels controlling the speakers are slightly offset, giving the motion a sweeping domino effect. The video below shows Polish singer-songwriter Bovska making the bots dance.
At this size, it’s cute. But think of the effect at a bigger scale. Imagine a Bjork concert where a troupe of robots shudder and sway in perfect sync with the singer’s howls. Its creators dub Echoooooooo a robotic choir, but it might be more interesting to think of these little guys as something else: robotic backup dancers. Dancers add a similar visual element to a stage show, but it’s all choreographed ahead of time. It’s predetermined. Here, what you see derives directly and dynamically from what you hear.
In that sense, you can see Echoooooooo as a novel approach visualizing music. With it, a little flourish at the end of a note—one your ears might not pick up on—is translated into a hiccup of movement. And since that relationship is algorithmically fixed, you don’t ever have to worry about these dancers forgetting their steps.