Kokon is a real-time interactive public space installation consisting of parametric speakers and microphones which connect Bristol’s stressed areas with the city’s natural surroundings via sound.

Smart cities aim to solve problems caused by urbanisation through optimising our behaviour and movement through cities. The algorithmic solutions are usually lacking emotional aspects, therefore leaving less room for playfulness and spontaneity. Previous research [1] suggests that living in cities has a direct effect in increasing anxiety and mood disorders. At the same time exposure to natural sounds increases the well-being and decreases stress of the inhabitants [2].

Interactive public space installations are usually designed with a focus on visual and tangible modalities with complex gestural interaction avoiding wider audiences such as the visually impaired, elderly and disabled. Interaction with sound has much broader audience than screens and tangible interfaces. Kokon is a simple, robust and intuitive project that wide range of participants can easily enjoy over longer periods of time due its contemplative and universal nature.

1. Peen, J., schoevers, r. a., Beekman, a. T. and Dekker, J. (2010), The current status of urban-rural differences in psychiatric disorders. acta Psychiatrica scandinavica, 121: 84–93. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ pubmed/19624573)

2. Jesper J alvarsson, stefan Wiens, and Mats E Nilsson, Int J Environ res Public Health. Mar 2010; 7(3): 1036–1046. Published online Mar 11, 2010. doi: 10.3390/ijerph7031036 PMCID: PMC2872309 [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih. gov/pmc/articles/PMC2872309/]

In collaboration with Jaak Kaevats.