A gurgling pot of stock. The whistle of a tea kettle. An electrifying sizzle as a steak hits hot cast iron. A kitchen already has its own soundscape, but could this environment make its way into formalized music?
Beatoven, by interaction artist Viktor Jan, is basically a MIDI-connected pot. When electrified objects go in, they send current through the pot to an onboard Arduino. And what comes out is music—tones and beats—that can be further modulated through a collection of knobs.
"When I was in U.K., I missed my Korean food, so I decided to cook a Korean soup in my kitchen," Jan tells Co.Design. "While boiling the water, I realized that the water boiling sound is playable by the lid of pot. It is just like filtering a sound effect by using a DJ mixer. So I translated that idea into cooking sound."
At the moment, Beatoven is a sort of proof of concept of this idea. Given the fact that no edible ingredients are involved in the MIDI-making process, Beatoven is more an homage to the sounds of cooking than the literal translation of cooking into sound. But next, Jan will be modifying the experience to work with real food. He sees the kitchen as a means to make music composition more approachable and social, a shared experience for the entire family. He even sees potential in the realm of education, to "unconsciously" instruct children about good and bad ingredients through acoustics alone.
"For instance, if kids put unhealthy ingredients into pot, the sound will clash with no harmony like pure noise," he explains. "But If they put in healthy food, then the sound will be groovy with harmony."
I imagine taking the idea even further. Consider complementary flavor profiles—like ginger, scallion, and soy sauce in Asian cuisine, or the carrot, onion, celery base of French mirepoix. Each flavor could be a note in a single key, becoming a chord when played together. Every dish would be a unique composition, and food could finally sound as good as it tastes and looks.
[Hat tip: Creative Applications]