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Young.m. Choi

Chordal Distance

A sound installation that explores the relationship between two people by connecting the physical act of pulling to music.


MMF 2021︎︎︎
-Awards of Merit

fabrication - Rhino, CNC
hardware - Arduino
software - Ableton, MaxMSP

Sylvan Zheng Developer

  • Concept Design
  • Software Engineering
  • Music Composer
  • Fabrication

Young-min Choi

  • Concept Design
  • Interaction & Visual Design
  • Sound Design
  • Fabrication

Performace video


“Can we share feelings through physical force?”

Interaction happens before the conversation: such ‘feeling’ that instantly arise when we touch, see, or even just go near an object. Everyday we are interacting with the world and each other, where interaction is an invisible force between the entities.

Everything in this world forms its own state of equilibrium. The form is defined by the result of finding a balance between multiple forces. We wanted to bring that idea into an installation where relationship could be visualized via different medium.

Opportunity Statement

Can we make a musical instrument that
illuminates the nature of the relationship
between the players?





Interaction & Installation
Mechanics of multiple vectors & Tug of war

During this stage, I focused on three main forces which are equilibrium, tension and reaction, and how they could be manifested as a core function of interaction as well as visualized in space.

We used the metaphor of Tug of war - a simple, collective, yet impactful game where all participants can feel the physical force, and rubber band to understand how multiple vectors can form an equilibrium in a space.

First prototype

Initial sketch

Based on the first user testing, we made the first prototype: two wooden handles with load cell, which reads the value of pulling and sends to arduino, connected by rope.

First user testing

We conducted user testing to see how people react to the act of pulling with just two handles connected by rope. As a result, we were able to see the playfulness of interaction, which led us to further improvements.



Rubber band
From the user testing, we learned that people respond very positively to pulling. In order to make it more fun, we replaced rope with rubber band to improve playfulness.

Dog leash
For better access to the handle as a physical installation, dog leash was added to make the handle suspended, instead of picking up from the table.

Second user testing


To capture the diversity of interaction, we conducted a second user testing with rubber band and dog leash. The result was way more positive than our expectation. Users showed wide spectrum of usage, and we moved on to the sound design to map this behavior to the music.

Previous version

Overall user testing and feedback

a. Interaction Design

How to improve playfulness?

b. Environmental Context

How can people approach and explore the space?

c. Sound Design

How should music be designed to the interactions?

d. Accessibility

How to make it more accessible?

-> Rubber band, Dog leash

-> Suspended handles

-> Vibrant & Tense

-> Ergonomics, Adjustable height

Second prototype & Sound design

Fabrication process

The handle is composed of a load cell, an arduino, a hook, and a LiPo battery, and a switch. The wood is separed into top and bottom parts using tension fit. CNC is used to carve out the wood. The main challenge was to make a design that that could be as ergonomic and light as possible so that it could be hanged using tension of the string.

Physical installation

Two wooden handles hang suspended at chest height, connected to each other with a simple band. We invite participants to explore the subtle musical shifts in tone and harmonic texture throughout the varying positions and tensions afforded by the installation.


As the two participants negotiate their mutual physical equilibrium music responds to the surges in tension, releases, and twists highlighting the nature of their relationship. While the installation affords this personal experience to the participants it also serves as a performance for a larger audience to engage with.


Regardless of age and gender, people have responded positively and playfully to the unusual interaction.

Depending on all kinds of relationship - family, strangers, lovers, friends - the interactions varied a lot, making the music respond differently.

Special thanks to:

Aidan Fowler, Tom Igoe
Testers: Henry Wang, Jan Suphitcha, Katie Han, Sue Roh, Tina Rungsawang
& People who participated for testing at ITP Winter show 2019 :)