ChroMAKEy was my first art installation, a giant-sized percussive electronic light and sound xylophone built for the Portland Winter Light Festival 2019 and brought back in 2020 alongside Dream Dial.

You can read a little about the inspiration for the design here.

It was one of my first times working with wood and was made from 4x4 and 2x4 dimensional lumber, 1/2" MDF, abrasion-resistant polycarbonate, a Raspberry Pi with custom firmware, custom electronics including an ADC and piezo discs for vibration pick-up, a home audio stereo receiver, two car audio cabinet speakers, and timpani mallets.

Thousands of people enjoyed playing the xylophone, which stood up to abuses by energetic kids, constant moisture, cold temperatures, and even a dusting of snow.

I was also able to show the xylophone at the now-defunct Portland Children’s Museum’s Building Bridges Family Music Festival in 2019.

My initial goals were around creative reuse of items incorporated into collages and sculptures inside the spaces of the xylophone, but in the interest of time and complexity, I, uh, scrapped that idea. Still, many people have told me (and I’ve seen!) just how much they enjoyed such a large and immersive piece that makes you feel like a kid again.