The Senior Center in the East Boulder Recreation Center has been playing host to an interactive sound exhibit known as the “Beatbox Penta. ” It allows people to create music through xylophone sounds and percussion just through the use of shadows. Jiffer Harriman, the artist behind the Beatbox Penta told KGNU’s Lina Takahashi that the exhibit has a series of light sensors that people interact with, and when a shadow is cast or a light shone on those sensors, that triggers a computer to play musical notes.
“So as you darken it and cover them, each output is more likely to play and so there’s 8 inputs and then there’s 8 outputs and so each light sensor has a motor that’s directly connected to that sensor.”
Before creating this “Beatbox Penta”, Jiffer created a similar, but a bit larger sound exhibit called the “Solaraphone” which was displayed at the Boulder Public Library. Eden Mayne, the Senior Services Manager at the East Senior Center recalls interacting with this exhibit at the library and wanting it in the senior center as well.
“It started with the Solaraphone which was very similar; when it touched it played sounds and that was in the foyer of the library and our deputy director saw that and every time we’d go over to the library for a meeting, we would play with it so she contacted the artist, Jiffer Harriman, and asked if the Solaraphone would be appropriate to have at the west senior center as one of our exhibits, we periodically host exhibits. And so it needed more space so he created this special instrument for us and we like to have various artistic exhibits in both centers whenever we can that are always open to the public and it’s a great introduction to senior centers because they are so multi-functional, it’s great and also it’s fun, it’s a fun thing to do, especially in the lobby.”