With their artwork “Rebus Cumulations” Depart have created a mixed media clockwork system – a mesmerizing triptych of video screens, real time generated graphics and sound. The centerpiece is a visualisation of global, up-to-the-minute SoundCloud usage data and the two wing pieces show an accompanying, neverending flow of poetic still life video loops.
These surreal moments, so called cinemagraphs, seemingly frozen but parts of it moving at the same time, are also host of an automated poetry generator that creates a new commentary or title sentence for each cycle of data tendency evaluation.
It combines abstract data visualisation and cinemagraphic still lifes into an enigmatic alchemy of objects, sounds and language – Constantly changing and balancing on the sweetspot between the mundane and the surreal.
We arranged and filmed about 120 still lifes, structured into 5 categories based on their activity/movements: dissolving, rotating, oscillating, streaming, accumulating. Those qualities are used to relate them to the activity in the data. So for instance a decline in SoundCloud plays and uploads produces a “dissolving” still life, whereas a constant development would display a “flowing” movement.
Here is a page with more GIFs (feel free to link to it)
The centerpiece is a data entity that represents the rhythm and energy of the system and is driven by global realtime data from SoundCloud .
We analyse global SoundCloud plays, uploads and favorites per minute and translate it into a organic data sculpture. Every new upload creates an instant event and the data visualisation represents this activity.
Every single object (around 1200) in the ~120 still lifes is cataloged and crosslinked within lexical databases of associations. Whenever a new scene appears object pairs are iterated and a new poem is generated based on their related meanings.
Determined by graphical rules, the arrangement is constantly changing.
The application was developed with VVVV. It runs in realtime and is connected to SoundCloud usage statistics (webservices and UDP endpoints). Every minute the global data set is analysed and according to detected tendencies a “energy state” is calculated which drives the whole system and decides the dramaturgy.
The installation is presented on three FullHD 46″ LED screens, custom made speakers and built into a wooden box (280cm x 160cm x 40cm).
The sound is generated in NI Reaktor and synced to the control structure and visuals via OSC.
commissioned by SoundCloud
permanently installed at SoundCloud Headquarters
Rheinsberger Str. 76/77
10115 Berlin, Germany
(c) by Depart (Leonhard Lass & Gregor Ladenhauf), 2014
Thanks to Marco Zinz (installing, transport, etc), Merlin König (Camera support), Lisi Lang (textiles), Woeshi Lean (VVVV support and consulting)
For further information and material please contact us at
For more works by Depart, please visit depart.at/work