BOM Fellow Ben Neal and the Swoomptheeng collective presented The Swoompipe at the V&A Museum’s 7th annual Digital Design Weekend on 23rd and 24th September 2017 as part of the London Design Festival.
The Digital Design Weekend is a weekend of free events exploring how design, technology and creativity can help bridge ideas, generating new relationships between people, cities, environments and more.
The Swoompipe is an oversized, handheld, wooden panpipe that controls music and games software via MIDI over Bluetooth. This DJ tool is one element of a 4 part “deconstructed bagpipe” and can be used to play a game featuring 3D scanned images of members of the Swoomptheeng artist collective. The pipe has a ring of touch capacitive keys, a blow hole, a twist-lock selector and is motion sensitive. The aim of the game is to keep the characters alive and dancing by playing the pipe.
Swoomptheeng use these sculptural instruments, developed using Ritualised Punk Technology and Rave Craft, to perform Zombie Bass at live events. Dressed in their ceremonial, brightly-coloured and tendrilled masks they channel their imaginary other-selves through raving, and create audio-visual, technological and carpentry hacks. Swoomptheeng bastardise, appropriate and repurpose cultural scraps; decorating themselves in nostalgic remnants to misinterpret celebrity, regurgitate dance music, misuse technology, mangle language and misunderstand fashion.
The Digital Design Weekend brings together artists, designers, engineers, technologists and the public to celebrate and share contemporary digital art and design. Participants take over the Museum with pop-up installations, robotics, creative electronics, talks, workshops, family-friendly events and more. For more information about the weekend and to download a programme click here.