IN JENNY Minton’s unique installation, participants can make a rich symphony simply by moving around a room. EDWIN GILSON finds out more

WHEN you listen to Jenny Minton talk about her project Interlude, you wonder why the idea hasn’t been explored before (to this writer’s knowledge).

In essence, Interlude allows the participant to create a melodic piece of music simply from walking around the auditorium of the Attenborough Centre. It’s a simple yet wonderfully inventive premise that has inspired a range of reactions from its audiences.

“Some people say they feel uplifted and moved and others say they were quite scared, because they are in an empty room alone” says Jenny, who considers herself a singer, composer and artist. “It’s fun for people but I also hope the music is quite moving and makes for a beautiful experience.”

The science behind the installation is fairly complex but can be broken down in steps. As participants move around the auditorium guided by various lights, they trigger a range of voices, pre-recorded by the UK’s finest choral singers.

As the different vocal sounds merge together, “a big polyphonic piece” is created, in Jenny’s words. Poetry from Rupert Brooke, W H Davies and more is also weaved into the experience.

Audience members will be able to listen back to their seven minute symphony online when their slot is over. Steve Wald invented the data-driven formula behind the installation, but it was Jenny’s background in video game soundtracks (her partner develops games) that was the catalyst for the project.

“I wanted to do something that is sort of like a game but more about the music,” she says. “Interlude is very simple but nobody has ever done anything quite like it.

“People have done things where your movement might trigger a sound, but not where you can make a whole piece like this.”

As Jenny tells me more about Interlude this I start to wonder if some of the seven minute songs created by participants are nothing more than tuneless dirges.

If visitors don’t have any guidance on how to use the installation, how will they create something listenable? The answer is that thanks to painstaking work by Wald and the project’s developers, all potential sequences of sounds – and there are thousands, if not millions of them – will all be relatively melodic. “It’s composed in a way that it will work in whatever order,” says Jenny.

“There are probably an infinite amount of variations.” Another important factor behind Interlude is that it is a solo experience. Jenny wants the installation to provide "a break in your usual day”.

She adds: “There aren’t many things you experience completely on your own. You act differently on your own and I love the idea that you can be free to play.”

While being in an auditorium alone could be eerie, it also rids the participant of any potential self-consciousness. Visitors are free to do what they please as they create their own musical masterwork.

“Some people run, some people dance – you can do whatever you want,” says Minton. “It’s your personal piece."

Jenny Minton: Interlude, Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts, University of Sussex, Falmer, February 5 to 11. To book a time slot for Interlude visit or call 01273 678822