Something for the Weekend: Ziggybox – Cigarette Synthesizer

At first glance, Ziggybox looks like an everyday item for smokers, which one could easily find in a living room. However, it is a synthesizer that generates and modulates sounds by placing cigarettes in the notch of an ashtray or by opening a box of cigarettes.

Through simple handling and without any prior knowledge of sound synthesis, Ziggybox enables the user to produce complex levels of synthesized music. The aim of this project is to enable access and control of a complex, digital environment, which is not usually transparent and under-standable for the common visitor. Our intention is to show that it is possible to conceptualize the creative utilisation of computer software in a casual way, by an interface, which initially seems to be unsophisticated in its manipulation. With this, the user is able to easily approach and control the system functionality of Ziggybox.

As the use of everyday objects are familiar to all, the interface serves as an open and easily approachable invitation for use. With this type of interface, where digital and physical boarders are blurred, it helps to open up a new relationship between technology and humans. The project utilised C++ and Open Frameworks as the basic platform. Included light-sensors control the sound synthesis. Our intention is also to give the colour arrangement a special importance and the objects on the box are arranged in order to reinforce the possibility of interaction with common objects.

In this video the box is used as a MIDI-controller connected to Ableton Live. Ziggybox is a project by Christian Losert and Paul Schengber.



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