Littlefield, New York
As part of New Interface for Musical Expression
Dec 3, 2017
Instrument, Live Performance, Sound Installation

customized circuits, projection, surveillance camera, audio cables/sockets, acrylic, JavaScript, Web Audio, Socket.IO, Electron

 2017, Littlefield, NY

2017, Littlefield, NY


ADMIN is innovative instrument based on a combination of live data processing, web audio and physical interface.


[_Timestamp__2017-OCT-27__4 to 6 pm_]

A camera I checked out from school equipment room was stolen under the monitoring of 5 surveillance cameras.


We trade our faces and personal information with surveillance system for security but only get frustrated and exploited. Instead of protecting us, the system makes us more vulnerable. So I made ADMIN, let the surveillance system speak for itself.



The area of surveillance is increasingly a topic in ethnics, academic study, and artificial intelligence.

Modern surveillance system is monitoring the behavior, activities and public online information of individuals. It includes observation from a remote closed-circuit television cameras, human agents and online data collection.

Surveillance is supposed to be used for prevention and prediction of crimes, the protection of a process, person, group or object. However, the system also could be understood as a violation of privacy.

In project ADMIN, the concept is to explore the bias against individuals happened in the surveillance system.


Public data are collected in order to make prediction or investigation after crimes happen. Most of city surveillance system take captures every 5 seconds in low resolution. The low efficiency of surveillance camera become a large resource of information leaking instead of helping police department solve crimes against ordinary people.


Then question has to be asked, "Is surveillance system really protect ordinary people from suffering violence and any other crimes? "

When crimes happened, the public tracking data only could be checked by public security department. But on the other hand, it's easy to be hacked, which put people in the risk of information leaking.

In the end, the camera installed publicly only become a deterrent power to people who behave themselves. 


Online information has been abused for a long time by sampling people's online behaviors for commercial use.


Surveillance as one of the modern data culture is based the society. Even some of us suffer from the frustrating and exploiting, one can not get rid of this culture by simply say no. The relationship between surveillance system and human society has experienced from the intimated to the contradictory. So the creation of ADMIN, is to make a statement about this dilemma by a narrative musical performance.



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Physical Interface

The physical interface of ADMIN is inspired by modular synthesizer. It includes a hacked surveillance camera, two 1/4' TRS patch bay racks, one of them is mounted to the performer's body, and the other one is attached to the back of a surveillance camera.

The body mount rack is designed to output audio, and the surveillance camera together with the patch bay rack attached to the back is designed to take the input audio and do digital modulation.



ADMIN has a customized electron application based on web audio, web RTC and

The application is a control center, doing digital modulation, data processing, audio mixing, and generating video mapping sketch and controlling performance stages.


The electron app processes the surveillance camera activities to modulate the sound input, which includes

plug in/rip off 1/4' audio cable ~ turn on/off input channels

camera move vertically ~ change output delay

camera move horizontally - change output panner

camera image capture  ~ change modular algorithms



Data Process

The modulated synth result is a comprehensive computing result of surveillance data input, include live stream face detection, pre-collected publicly posted social platform data and personal tracking information.

Personal tracking information and pre-collected SNS data is used as composing elements in the basic audio input.

Live streaming data with face detection feature data is used as parameters to modulate input audio.

Generally speaking, the faces, the emotion of the faces and features like age and gender that the camera capture during the performance will affect how the audio will be modulated.


All the data collected by both physical interactions and camera live stream will send through web socket to a web browser window to generate crazy glitch canvas.

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The main gesture to interact with ADMIN is to plug in and unplug audio cables, which is a metaphor of giving and depriving surveillance system the access to our daily life. The cables are also a metaphor of human vessels, plug and rip off cables will coordinate with a pain feeling acting expression.

The other gesture is to hold the surveillance camera to capture the faces of audiences. The movement and positions of the camera indicate the relationship stages between human being and surveillance system: We create the surveillance camera and thought it's under control. Then it's growing into a machine outraging people and make people want to escape from it.


FINAL RESULT(Official documentation is still under editing)


Exhibition and show

2017 - ADMIN + The good, The bad, and The dirty, Frequency Sweep, Babycastles Gallery, 145 West 14th St, New York, NY 10011, Dec 17, 2017
2017 - ADMIN, Littlefield NYC Venue, 635 Sackett Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217, Dec 3, 2017

 The final presentation is a live performance set at NIME(New Interface for Musical Expression) show at Littlefield Venue, Brooklyn, NY on Dec 3rd, 2017. 

NIME show presented novel musical instruments that go beyond traditional sounds and interfaces, digital media artists are asked "What new interfaces could make the performance of electronic music more expressive and exciting?" The individuality of each project is apparent from the range of materials and media the artists use to create their sonic compositions. Language, lights, and human body would all be harnessed for listening pleasure.

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