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Alive / Music


Sound installation and video game

Two possibilities: playing the game or playing music.

One rule: staying alive.

Alive / Music is a sound installation based on the video game War of Toys (1) developed by Evil Indie Game. It is part of the First Person Shooters (FPS) category and features small plastic soldiers who are supposed to conquer opposing bases.

Initially controlled by the computer keyboard, the game was diverted so that the player was forced to use a musical keyboard to perform basic actions such as moving or grabbing objects, and pronounce something into a microphone to shoot with a weapon.

Each action on the keyboard generates in parallel various sound events (triggering sounds or samples, modulating a sound effect, etc.) composing a soundtrack synchronized with the game.

The game was switched to shades of grey to blur the distinction between allies and enemies, and thus focus the player on the soundtrack rather than on the original issue.

There are two possibilities: either play the game without really knowing its purpose, or play the music. Whatever his choice, the player and his avatar must face the same common need: to stay alive.

This installation is an absurd allegory of the need to survive in order to make music - or to make music in order to survive - not to mention Michel Houellebecq's famous maxim ironically referring to his own artistic practice: "a dead poet no longer writes, hence the importance of remaining alive. "» (2)

It is part of a broader research on new ways of producing and hearing music live through digital technologies. By its intrinsically interactive nature, the video game has proved to be an interesting way of involving the participant in this creative and perceptive process, and in the case of this installation, in a permanent round trip that constantly closes in on itself.

(1) Available on
(2) Michel Houellebecq, Rester vivant, Paris, Flammarion, 2010, p. 12.

Alive / Music - Audio excerpt from the installation played by a participant
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