Keith Richards, Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page are know for their sweet licks on guitar, but they’ve got nothing on these musicians who rocked out using only their tongues and high-tech vanilla ice cream cones.
Brainfreezechild of designers Carla Diana and Emilie Baltz, the “Lickestra” project equipped 3D-printed cones with capacitive sensors. With arms at their sides, musicians stood inside boxes and lapped at their frozen treats. When a musician’s tongue made contact with the ice cream, a signal was routed to an Arduino circuit board and assigned a sound.
“They crafted a four-part composition of music that included sounds reminiscent of winter icicles and slippery surfaces,” Diana told Wired.
Diana and Baltz collaborated with Buke & Gase, a musical duo with a reputation for making unconventional musical instruments. Originally, vanilla ice cream was used, but eventually the Big Gay Ice Cream shop helped develop a unique flavor infused with Cayenne peppers.
“We found that the heat of the spice in the ice cream elicited a much more vigorous licking action and inspired some rather gusto-filled performances,” said Diana.
Yet ice cream wasn’t the only instrument on the original menu. “We had sonic marzipan that could be smooshed, audible cocktails that could be sipped through conductive straws and metal forks and spoons that would trigger tones when used to pierce food,” Diana said. “We discovered that the experiences that triggered sound through interaction with the tongue, teeth and mouth were the most magical and surprising, so we decided to focus on that for our public performances.”
The performance debuted recently at NYC art space, Specials on C. Diana said Lickestra might tour soon, but in the meantime, you can get a taste in the following video.
Credit: Emilie Baltz