TechfestNW 2013: Aesthetic, Synesthetic

Duet installation offers a heat map of MusicfestNW.

Above the grassy knoll and the cracking skate park, in the couplet that marks the east end of the Burnside Bridge, there will—during TechfestNW and MusicfestNW—stand a city of pyramids. It will be built on rock 'n' roll. 

Instrument—which for our money is one of the cooler companies in Portland—is building an installation called Duet that consists of 10 glowing pyramids, one for each of MusicfestNW's major venues: Wonder Ballroom, Crystal, Hawthorne and so on.

Using brand-new technology from a startup called PixelPusher, Instrument developers Ben Purdy and Martin Linde have designed the pyramids to act as a heatmap for what's going on at Musicfest at any given moment.

We are unendingly excited about this.

The top of each pyramid will have colors and lights that are controlled by the social media check-ins at each venue—Twitter, Facebook, Instagram—and by a smartphone interface you can use when you're onsite at the pyramids.

The base of each pyramid will be controlled by the music—by the type of band that's playing at the venue.

So if the top of the pyramid bumps, there's lots of people. If the bottom of the pyramid bumps, the music bumps. Conversely, if you're looking to avoid a line, you can gravitate to the calmer venues.

To plot out how it would look from every angle, Purdy designed a special browser interface for a pair of virtual reality goggles called the Oculus Rift, another technology that basically didn't even exist yesterday.

TFNW is thrilled to be working with Instrument, which is a company that seemingly exists only to make cool stuff—for example, a program they'll soon be putting up on their website ( that will let you skydive a little Lego man through an aerial obstacle course over three different cities on a live version of Google Earth.

In the meantime: City of Roses, meet City of Pyramids. 

TFNW profiles: Rick Turoczy (TFNW curator, PIE PDX)Tyson Evans (NYTimes)Ward Cuningham (Wiki Inventor)Michelle Rowley (Code Scouts)Jackson Gariety (TechStars, teen entrepreneur) 

TFNW features: MFNW Installation by InstrumentPDX Drone ChallengeGoogle Gogglers

Tickets and official site:

GO: The Duet installation is at the corner of East Burnside Street and Northeast Martin Luther King Boulevard during MusicfestNW.

WWeek 2015

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