25TH INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON ELECTRONIC ART in South Korea has just ended. The Cryptographer was a part of the Juried Exhibition, selected by the International Art Jury. The exhibition was located at Asia Cultural Center in Gwangju, from June 22 to June 28. The festival program included 3 exhibitions, lectures, master classes, performances, conferences. Among the participants of ISEA2019 were: Bill Vorn, Christa Sommerer, Han Lee, Tino Niemeyer etc. You can find the full symposium program here.

Cryptographer, 2018

The Cryptographer is an audio-visual synthesizer that connects various times, systems, and spaces by combining traditional music theory and sound art.

A form of the instrument resembles some features of an old French harpsichord but its work is based on the algorithm that converts visual data to the sound composition in real-time. The algorithm relies on two crucial assumptions: the similarity of colors and musical intervals (Katherine Lubar's theory) and the existence of the ranging (which is the basis of the human visual analyzer) that classifies the order of image perception.

The Cryptographer allows making piano compositions from small ready-made images (postcards, color drawings, or photos) and little items (like a key or Smartphone, etc.) or a new self-made drawing by using different colors to achieve a certain sound effect. The method of translation offers an opportunity to make sounds from any images and to compare the sounds of different artists, designers, and photographers works or any other views of cities, landscapes, portraits, and also small articles like garbage from the pocket, etc.

The way of interaction

A user puts an image (or small things not larger than A5 format) on well-lit surfaces under the camera and presses the play button after 20 sec. the composition starts to produce sound. A process of image recognition is output on a built-in screen. A playback of the image stops when the user presses the stop button.


Artists - Vladlena Gromova, Artem Paramonov

Programmers - Alexey Krutikov, Denis Bazulev

Special thanks to Matthew Welton, Colin Chilcoat, Polina Kassian, Andrey Lopaev, Boris Bazulev, Sergey Timofeev, Sergey Vdovin, Ekaterina Mochalina for their help and support with project implementation.

The Cryptographer was shown at "Museum of Material Culture" exhibition curated by Barbara Busova and Oleg Borodin, high-rise building on Kotelnicheskaya street, Moscow, 2018; "Open Museum" in Electromuseum, Moscow, 2019; Juried Exhibition of International Symposium on Electronic Art ISEA2019, Asia Cultural Center, South Korea, Gwangju.