UPC Sequencer: Music from barcodes
auditory explorations from consumer product barcode data
Materials/Languages: Barcode Scanner, UPCs, Max/MSP
UPC Sequencer is an application that employs a barcode scanner to create music from UPCs. By creating an audio composition unique to each code, the composer begins to value products based on their contribution to a musical score rather than marketing and package design. The one part of the package not designed to appeal to the consumer’s wallet becomes the most valuable component. Items from a similar manufacturer have similar UPCs, creating recognizable patterns for similarly governed corporations. As patterns in sound are known to be highly recognizable, users can understand complex corporate ownership chains by composing music. Controller codes allow the user to select which type of instrument a particular product should be. The product takes on a new meaning that is defined by the user and is therefore much more personal and genuine. Undermining the marketing hype surrounding consumer goods, the UPC Sequencer helps take back control over deciding what roles these products play in our lives.
co-authored with John Nowak
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