slow magic -- mask three point oh


Mask Three Point Oh is a wireless piece of wearable technology commissioned by producer and musician Slow Magic. Triggered by sound data, it uses micro-controllers and an array of LED lights to enable patterns and images to be displayed during live performances. Fabricated using 3D printing and computational design methods, it creates an identity for the critically acclaimed musician.

Slow Magic wanted to upgrade the most integral part of his live performance, his mask, from something dissociated with his sound to something that leverage his audio as the main component to create live audiovisual performances featuring innovative use of digital imagery and sound in which audio and visual are considered a singular entity.


The main shell of the mask that houses the array of LEDs is 3D printed. Layered on top is a laser cut acrylic diffuser, used to create a controlled level of homogeneous distribution of light emitted through the LEDs.


How it works: 

From Ableton, the data of Slow Magic’s sound is translated into OSC (Open Sound Control) messages, providing the ability to have an intimate connection between sound and mask. From Ableton, the OSC data is sent to Processing which receives and decodes the messages into 2D animations. Within Processing, a digital representation of the array of LEDs interprets the color data and transforms this into OPC (Open Pixel Control) data that is broadcast to an OPC server running on his machine. 

A portable router, that is worn by Slow Magic, connects as a client to the server on a private WiFi channel. The router has been hacked with OpenWRT to allow custom software to be loaded and sends the OPC data to a connected Fadecandy. The Fadecandy applies dithering and interpolation to the signal which is then sent to the array of over 200 LEDs within the mask. 

This hardware/software architecture allows for a simple and seamless translation of Slow Magic’s audio to a visual representation on his mask. In addition, he is able to trigger visuals from within Ableton and create instant patterns on the surface of his mask.