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  • Hack n Roll

    Hack and create innovative musical instruments

    The Hack n’ Roll course at the Royal College of Art is a collaboration between the musical instrument producer KORG, innovative band, OK GO and the students and tutors from the Platform 21 unit in the Design Products Department at the Royal College of Art in London. Yuri Suzuki has directed this project with Damian Kulash from OK Go.


    Music traditionally links an action and an object, the entertainment primarily being a musician playing an instrument on stage. Since the development of synthesizers, music performance can be reduced to simply pushing a button or two, which is sometimes less entertaining to watch. Meanwhile, live performance has become an increasingly important part of a musician’s career, as incomes have shifted from being largely based on album sales to being mainly based on live show revenues. Often musicians seek to create impressive and complex stage shows, which are more like music videos in nature, with sounds and effects being generated from a number of analogue and digital sources.

    The Brief:

    Use your newly acquired skills in physical computing, along with your knowledge as a designer, to create a series of objects which generate sound, while creating something visually appealing and entertaining. Your newly created tools should help the musician surprise, amuse and excite the audience, elevating their experience. You should think of a way to make performing on stage with electronic instruments something which is really worth seeing.

    Teaming up with Damian Kulash from OK Go, we will be using a selection of Korg products as a starting point. The task is to create a series of objects or a space which allow the musician to play while being free from traditional constraints imposed by existing tools. The instruments/system/etc need to be ok for OK GO to use to perform the song, “another set of issues,” from their upcoming album.
    The outcome should be an instrument which acts as an interface between the performer and his instruments or a space/system which allows the musician to play on stage using his/her body. It will be a tool which gives the audience an amazing experience.

    Team OK:

    Gemma Roper // Paula Arntzen // Jurinka Ebhardt // Zekun Chang

    Team G:

    Bike Ayaskan // Begum Ayaskan

    Team O:

    James Boock // Jakub Pollag