Global String

"Global String" (1999-2000) by Atau Tanaka is a musical instrument in which the network forms the resonating body.

Global String

Global String

Global String is a multi-site network music installation, connected via the Internet. It is a musical instrument in which the network forms the resonating body, by use of a real time sound synthesis server.

The concept is to create a musical string (like the string of a violin) that spans the world. Its resonance circles the globe, allowing musical communication and collaboration among the people at each site.

The installation consists of a real physical string connected to a virtual string on the network. The real string (12mm diameter, 15m length) stretches from the floor diagonally up to the ceiling of the space. On the floor is one end - the earth. Up above is the connection to the network, to one of the other ends somewhere else in the world. Vibration sensors translate the analog pulses to digital data. Users strike the string, making it vibrate.


Global String by Atau Tanaka (2000) from V2_ on Vimeo.


The server is the 'bridge' of the instrument - the reflecting point. It runs software that is a physical model of a string of unreal proportions. Data is streamed back to each site along with video, providing a visual connection among the users.

Global String is a scalable multi-mode installation. The number of sites can range from two and up. The installation can be used in concert mode for soloists at each site to perform together. Global String allows people, be it performers or gallery visitors, to create musical harmonies together over the net.

Global String consists of a diagonal physical string on ground-level (12mm diameter, 15m length) which can be plucked and played with, to produce deep resonating sounds of vibration. Connected to the Internet, webusers may simultaneously play the virtual string and listen in on network-level - analog impulses swapped into digital data. The server becomes the tightrope in between, allowing the multiple tremors of Global String to move to and fro in this multi-site network music installation. Spanning the world in the urge for global yet musical communication, the senses may be plugged in for a trembling audio-experience.

Bert Bongers: sensor engineer
Theo Borsboom: mechanical engineer
Frederic Voisin: signal processing engineer

Global String was awarded 2nd prize in Cyberstar98: Shared Visions, sponsored by the German research institute GMD and German television/radio WDR.

With the financial assistance of The Daniel Langlois Foundation for Art, Science, and Technology.
Special thanks to Naoko Sugita, Staalkabel BV.
Developed during the 2000 V2_residency, in collaboration with V2_Lab.


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