This digital live performance was held as a part of the Interactive Cologne Festival. Its aim was to turn the combination of technology and creativity as well as the city of Cologne as a location into an unforgettable experience for the participants. The performance “hacked” one of the city’s most visited tourist attractions, Cologne Cathedral, its stained-glass window designed by Gerhard Richter, as well as the mobile phones of the invited guests, merging all into an interactive composition. For the organ concert, an app was developed that reads the IP addresses of the smartphones and makes them individually controllable via the musician’s computer – just like the more than 10,000 pipes of the Cathedral’s organ. The specially composed music pieces were thus performed live in conjunction with the corresponding lighting effects, composed from the 72 colours featured in the Richter window, turning the dark aisle into a location for a fascinating experience. A special highlight was that the mapped musical notes made the visitor’s smartphone displays blink in the colours of the Richter window.
“Hacking Richter” is poetry in motion and an interesting experiment pushing technologies. Design is here understood in terms of using and linking different elements such as the mobile devices, which thus turn into powerful icons of illustration, the musical composition for the organ and the window of Cologne Cathedral. Integrating them in this inventive live performance is the result of a highly successful implementation.