Plattenspieler Design Blog

1. Proposal and Hi-Fidelity


Proposal PDF





Type of Project




Anthony Bratovich Chief of design and construction

Chrissy Grubb (contact) Chief of documentation and liaison





Walkman is an interactive sonic station. Originally based on Sony’s personal media player of the same name, the project’s name is a pun on cassette players and people walking. It was inspired by our tutor’s exclamation “Don’t do buttons. Make them work”.

The installation consists of a larger than life rat exercise wheel, or treadwheel, connected to a hand‐made gramophone through a series of wheels and gears. When a person walks or runs on the treadwheel, the wheels will set in motion. The final one to spin rotates the record deck and plays the record which is amplified through the gramophone’s horn. The pace of the music corresponds to the speed at which that person moves. For example if they start running, the music will speed up as if in fast forward. Participants can walk backwards to play the record in reverse.

The treadwheel and its base will be constructed in the contemporary minimal style. It will either be black painted or raw steel bent and joined with visible rivets for an industrial feel. The accompanying mass of wooden and brass cogs, wheels and horn/s will lend to a steampunk aesthetic.

Taking its cue from interactive installations by the likes of Tim Hawkinson, Carsten Holler and Andy Warhol, Walkman explores the concepts of new immersive environments.


Influences and Background


Tim Hawkinson’s Uberorgan is a musical instrument consisting of thirteen bus‐sized inflated bags, one for each of the twelve tones in the musical scale and one to feed air to the other twelve by long tubular ducts. When a dab on the Mylar roll passes over a photocell, a valve in the corresponding reed assembly opens, forcing air through a 25’‐long resonator pipe and producing a fog‐horn like blast. (Mass MoCA).

The audience can manipulate the sound by passing their hands in front of a photocell.


Test Site

Carsten Holler’s Test Site is a high, windy metal slide installed at the Turbine Hall. In contradiction to the traditional hands‐off museum ideology, patrons are actually permitted to go for a slide. Holler designed Test Site with the intentions of selling the model to corporations, his philosophy being that if office workers got to slide downstairs every day and actually have some fun at work they might be happier. This artwork is playful and eloquent yet challenges the audience’s perceptions of architecturally designed space, critiques the art museums’ penchant for subduing actions and reactions within a gallery space, and also had a social agenda.


Silver Clouds

Andy Warhol’s Silver Clouds is a room of floating, helium‐filled, silver balloons which drift around the space. This work epitomises the shift away from the classical art museum ideology “look but do not touch” and is arguably interactive art in its purest form. The audience can get involved, or not, as they please. They are neither encouraged nor discouraged. They can stay and play or just watch, or go or come back later. They are free to choose. In this sense Warhol has created an artwork that is not about the object, but rather the audience. Silver Clouds is a poignant example of a simple yet effective

interactive environment.


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