concept demo | words | feedback

scanjam is a joint project with Adrian Ashley and Mikkel Köser, and is a response to a brief that exhorted us to think of radically new ways to use scanners.


scanjam is a music performance system consisting of two scanners and a computer. We took advantage of the time-based nature of the scan head and mapped each scanner to one bar of music. The music is composed in two bar "modules". Objects placed on the scanner are read and depending on their color, shape, and vertical placement, trigger sounds when the scan head passes them by. When one scanner reaches its end the next scanner begins. While the second scanner is scanning, the first scanner is "rewinding".


In our brainstorming for this project, we were keen to abstract the unique properties of scanners without regard to their purpose, and come up with a plausible alternative application. We also wanted to put a bit of humanity back into the performance of electronic music.

Much electronic music of the dance or loop based variety when performed live is done so behind a laptop computer. Whether the performers are actually performing or whether they're surfing the web is a fair question to ask. A system like scanjam makes the performance of loop based electronic music observable in a dramatic and physical way.

obligatory disclaimer

Because this project was aimed at generating concepts and not working examples (and because we only had one week from brief to presentation) a working version of scanjam does not exist. But it is plausible.