Music You Can Hear, See and Hold

Music You Can Hear, See and Hold

Reify's 3D-printed totems offer an unparalleled level of synesthesia

Ido Lechner, Home Editor
  • 3 august 2015

Using technology they call totems, a group of engineers and designers embedded sound files into a collection of abstract 3D-printed objects activated by pointing your phone’s camera while using their app, Stylus. The product, known as Reify, seeks to “transform music into something you can hear, see and hold.”

Marketed as a “physical music platform that combines the best of both physical and digital music technology, and creates a new way to experience music,” the team has worked with bands and artists such as Yacht, Health, Mae and Tim Fain to capture their music into totems (or, what you see below).

reify photo

Having played with designs for hundreds of totems, the team has solidified an audio-to-physical design process after many trials and errors to diversify the look of each individual piece while maintaining a design that outputs high-quality sound. In addition to hearing music when pointing Stylus at a totem, accompanying visuals in the form of AR styled layering serve to bring a totem to life for a cross-sensory experience.

reify HEALTH

Interestingly enough, the digital mapping of visual and auditory elements occurs prior to designing a totem by using a custom engine and parametric design software. In this way, the team is capable of building on top of an individual artist’s needs and preferences by seeing the function prior to the aesthetic. When it’s finally time to design the physical object, creative choices and decisions made for each totem are saved and learned by Reify’s system, utilized in improvements to future installations of the product.

thecreatorsprojectSound sculptures make music something you can see hear and hold

“Like vinyls and mixtapes before them, the company’s 3D-printed sound sculptures turn musical data into a material reality… however [they] outstrip their limited predecessors through experience-influenced designs, decidedly three-dimensional surfaces and their accompanying interactive visuals” praises Sami Emory of The Creators Project.

reify nyc

3d printed totem

Incubated as a collaborative art and technology project at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, Reify is currently still in the Kickstarter phase and needs support. Partnering with Voodoo manufacturing for 3D-printed totems and a private bronze casting company located in NYC for limited edition totems, Kickstarter will provide the funding needed for production and shipments.

With a promise for a finished research and development stage, money will primarily go into the execution of the product, which has approximately two more weeks of crowdfunding to go.


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+New Museum of Contemporary Art

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