The Hack n’ Roll course at the Royal College of Art is a collaboration between the musical instrument producer KORG, innovative band, OK GO and the students and tutors from  the Platform 21 unit in the Design Products Department at the Royal College of Art in London. 


Music traditionally links an action and an object, the entertainment primarily being a musician playing an instrument on stage.  Since the development of synthesizers, music performance can be reduced to simply pushing a button or two, which is sometimes less entertaining to watch.  Meanwhile, live performance has become an increasingly important part of a musician’s career, as incomes have shifted from being largely based on album sales to being mainly based on live show revenues.  Often musicians seek to create impressive and complex stage shows, which are more like music videos in nature, with sounds and effects being generated from a number of analogue and digital sources.

The Brief:

Use your newly acquired skills in physical computing, along with your knowledge as a designer, to create a series of objects which generate sound, while creating something visually appealing and entertaining.    Your newly created tools should help the musician surprise, amuse and excite the audience, elevating their experience.  You should think of a way to make performing on  stage with electronic instruments something which is really worth seeing.

Teaming up with Damian Kulash from OK Go, we will be using a selection of Korg products as a starting point.  The task is to create a series of objects or a space which allow the musician to play while being free from traditional constraints imposed by existing tools. The instruments/system/etc need to be ok for OK GO to use to perform the song, “another set of issues,” from their upcoming album.
The outcome should be an instrument which acts as an interface between the performer and his instruments or a space/system which allows the musician to play on stage using his/her body.  It will be a tool which gives the audience an amazing experience.