Taking a couple licks of your ice cream cone doesn’t really make all that much noise, except for the occasional slurp. But a couple of food designers and musicians got together to figure out a way to use ice cream to make music.
The result was an installation and performance at the School of Visual Arts Visible Futures Lab in New York City called Lickestra by designers Emilie Baltz and Carlia Diana, and the musical duo Buke & Gase.
Here’s how it works. Cayenne chocolate ice cream made by Big Gay Ice Cream is placed in cups. Those cups are held in plastic cones lined with sensors. The sensors are used to detect when the ice cream is touched. When a tongue makes contact with the ice cream, the cone sends a signal to an electronic board, which is then sent to a computer. It registers one of the stored sounds, melodies and beats on the computer, then plays the sound through speakers.
Each licker sits inside a box with a cone and is assigned a single sound to work with. If you lick the ice cream slowly or quickly, or in short bursts, it will affect the sound. But the lickers aren’t just licking aimlessly. Arone Dyer of Buke & Gase wrote a four-part composition for the performance.
And of course, audience members were given ice cream to enjoy during the performance.
The Lickestra experimented with other foods before deciding on ice cream, including marzipan that could be smashed to make noise, and cocktails that could be sipped through conductive straws.
Lickestra plans to go on tour with its electronic ice cream.
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