I am pleased to report that OBO – the Open Boat Orchestra project lives on with the continuation of the development of the “musical rules” – sets of ideas, which the boat’s marine electronic data “plays.” In fact, Richard Tinley of Tinley Marine Electronics said himself on Friday that OBO Generation 3 is beginning to create some really interesting music! Professional filmmaker Richard Gooderick and I spent a couple of hours in Richard’s office in Lymington, filming OBO Generation 1 playing for the record, which we all agreed is like a child learning to play the piano, compared to Gen 3! Richard had the heart of the OBO Box (the circuit board) held delicately in a small vice, with wires connecting it to it’s various body parts – mains power, two computers and the Roland MT- 90U MIDI player for awesome audio quality.
On the screen to the side of Richard’s desk, the data from the Artemis IMOCA 60, racing around Britain this summer in the ‘Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland,’ race was being streamed; on the other screen, (Richard’s primary PC) was the programme – OBO’s brain laid out in code to be modified and refined. When Richard pressed, "play" the Open 60
data began to reel down the screen, the data being interpreted by the OBO circuit’s programme and output as sound via the Yamaha keyboard. Suddenly after 6 months of imagining it, OBO was alive! Mellow piano music – three instruments representing melody (boat speed), harmony (wind angle) and tempo (wind speed), filled the air.
Unfortunately, for the BWR, the Barcelona World Race, we literally missed the boat. At the end of August, I was in a very exciting place in terms of securing sponsorship, but that excitement was driven by the intrigue in OBO, which at that stage we sadly couldn’t prove. Both Alex Thomson Racing and Offshore Challenges very kindly offered us the opportunity to showcase the new technology on their IMOCA 60 boats. It was a shame we couldn’t seize the opportunities.
As of October 18th, I am now affiliated with Alex Thomson Racing, currently working out of their offices in Haslar Marina, Gosport. This is part of a two-year plan, which will unroll from January 2011. For further updates, ‘like’ the OBO Facebook page or sign-up at the bottom of the OBO Project website.
Recap video – Lia Ditton talks about the project at ‘The Bulb’ arts centre, Camden Town London. Nov 4th 2010