Alex Davies

Head Spins: Music for Motion


Head Spins: Music for motion is a participatory musical interface consisting of a purpose built carousel that is encircled by an array of 32 speakers. The participant stands on the carousel and commences the spinning motion by turning their hands around a circular central column (as one would in a playground carousel). As the audience member begins to spin, they control a musical composition that has been specifically produced for a body in revolution. A range of compositions can be randomly selected by the listener from a button situated on the central column of the carousel. The resulting soundscape is precisely controlled by the actions of the audience and interpreted via sensors and custom software developed in the MaxMSP programming environment. Unique compositions can therefore be dynamically generated based upon the audience’s motion. Not only are the compositional elements directly influenced by the listener’s choices, but the spatial characteristics of the enveloping soundfield are also produced by their orientation, velocity and acceleration. The sound work specifically examines characteristics of human auditory perception; the interplay of sound shifting around physical space (i.e. panning around the speaker array) and the movement of an individual’s body situated within this sound field. For example, the audience member may spin themselves at the same velocity as the audio being panned across the surrounding speakers, resulting in a unique sense of momentary auditory stasis, despite other sensory apparatus indicating otherwise.


  • This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.
  • Compositions by Gail Priest, Robin Fox and Alex Davies
  • Thanks Leigh Russel and Brendan Lloyd and Tim Boykett.
  • This work is inspired by the Micro Caroussels by Time's Up



Project Details

DATE : 2014

KEYWORDS : Installation, Sound