Small Fish

Masaki Fujihata, Furukawa Kiyoshi & Wolfgang Münch

23 July 1999

Masaki Fujihata, Furukawa Kiyoshi, Wolfgang Münch / 1999 / Japan, Germany Virtual musical interface (CD-ROM)

“Well! I’ve often seen a cat without a grin, but a grin without a cat! It’s the most curious thing I ever saw in all my life.” Bewilderment similar to that of Alice in Wonderland will be expressed by anyone attempting to concisely describe Small Fish, an interactive painting which, in some way, can be seen as the realization of the early 20th century dream of connecting music and image.

The basic idea of Small Fish is to use the configuration, movements, and collisions of symbols, objects and images on the computer screen to generate MIDI code for controlling a flow of melody, harmony, and rhythm of music in real time. The user interacts with this software like a musical instrument.

Small Fish also aims to contribute to the history of modern painting. Kandinsky asked how a viewer could relate to music through the experience of viewing his paintings. Working with the static medium of paint and canvas, however, the viewing process of his work involved no real interaction. Small Fish proposes that it is interactive paintings, not paintings made interactively, that achieve this goal.