Objet d’Art: Living Music

Published July 15, 2015

Like photographs, music used to be tied to a single, fixed physical existence: played live, or played back on a record, tape, or CD. Now any individual with an Internet connection can access a digital version, and music is more often experienced alone. “We used to gather around record players, collect album art, liner notes, listen to the radio together, make mix tapes and CDs,” says Allison Wood, CEO and founder of the innovative music platform Reify. “With Reify, we are trying to restore that physicality in a completely modern way-bridge the analog and digital to create something new.”

Reify, which is easier to think about as a system than a standalone product, begins with a song. From there, the tech team works with musicians to model a custom totem, a sculptural element that functions as a tangible anchor in reality, and a digital animation centered around the totem. When a phone app called Stylus is trained at the totem, users can hear the song and see the animation swirl around the totem, pulsating with the melody.

Wood, 26, studied interior design and digital interactive art at Pratt, and Reify is the result of her idea to “develop a new visual language for sound–one that takes the human experience of sound into consideration.”  The beta version that exists now is only the beginning of what Wood hopes to accomplish with Reify; she sees its future as totems that thousands of people can experience together, as well as a potential new mode of music distribution, and others built around different sounds–say, a spoken poem, ocean waves, or a heartbeat.

To move forward, Reify launched a Kickstarter campaign this week to coincide with their presentation at The New Museum’s first NEW INC showcase, an exhibition of cutting edge ideas blending art and technology. Play on. 

THE KICKSTARTER FOR REIFY IS LIVE UNTIL AUGUST 13, 2015. BACKERS OF $10 OR MORE WILL RECEIVE REWARDS INCLUDING STICKERS, PINS, TEE-SHIRTS, AND TOTEMS; ALL VISUALS CAN BE BROUGHT TO LIFE USING THE STYLUS APP. EXPERIENCE REIFY AT NEW INC, WHICH WILL BE UP AT RED BULL STUDIOS THROUGH JULY 30, 2015.

Objet D’Art runs every month. For more, click here.