At first sight it looks like a wargame on the computer. Two carts with a seat, a monitor and a sound-cannon designed to shoot sounds by means of joystick control. But after having played for a little while, the Rainstick Foundation's Tai-Tendo installation has a completely different effect. It turns out to be an interactive sound system where the visitors get the impression of sitting on a musical instrument.
Based on what is referred to as the 'Nintendo Effect', the game challenges the players to investigate. After playing for a while, someone might say: "I just found out what a tree sounds like." The movements of the joystick are drawn out on the screen and this could tempt someone into drawing a tree and then listening to the sound that seems to be part of it. Tai-Tendo is designed to stimulate a different approach to sound, something closer to the feeling that people have when playing the piano at age three. The joystick provides each player with the ability to control the type of sound, its pitch and direction. Sounds can be traced by going back to the same spot on the screen. Directing the cart, however, is a little tricky. It moves left or right when the joystick is moved in the horizontal plane. Retracing a sound doesn't always mean that you end up going in the same direction.
The second cart is not manned but is controlled by someone else via the Internet. Under regular circumstances, two musicians profit from each other's physical presence. Tai-Tendo raises the question whether two people have to be in the same space to have a good musical contact. In that sense, the installation researches the way in which people can share a real and a virtual space. According to the Rainstick Foundation, both the makers and the audience will gain useful insights from the installation.