Ice cream has gained a new, sweet sort of melody with Lickestra, a musical performance that demonstrates a new way to enjoy the sweet frozen flavors of ice cream. Lickestra is a musical performance, executed through the use of ice cream and 3D printed cones with capacitive sensors embedded in them.
While there are those who might envision a full orchestra of ice cream lickers, there is nothing that extreme planned as yet. The idea of the musical ice cream cone was the brainchild of artists Emilie Baltz and Carla Diana, who envisioned what the intersection of design and food might look like. Lickestra is what they came up with. Baltz says the duo worked with Arone Dyer, who plays with the experimental musical duo Buke and Gase, designed a four-part composition that will no doubt remind listeners of winter. Buke&Gase are known for their use of handmade instruments; this made Dyer an ideal partner for the project.
Baltz is a food designer and Diana is a smart object designer. Together, the pair discovered it was possible to make sweet music, thanks to a little help from Dyer.
The sounds will remind listeners of slippery surfaces and icicles, says Baltz. She and Diana worked on their idea for musical food with a range of different edibles until they realized that ice cream would truly work best, largely because of the possibilities of the cone. While early experiments included “sonic marzipan” and “audible cocktails” where straws with a great deal of conductivity were used and the concept of sipping was explored, it was quickly realized that licking was the way to create sweet harmony.
The sweet sort of melody was made when the sensors in the ice cream cone could tell when the cone was licked. As the cone was licked, a signal would be sent to an electronic board that would then produce a specific sound. Baltz says that she and Diana quickly discovered that people were only too happy to demonstrate their lick ability in public. Some apparently were very soft, while others demonstrated something of a naughty side while licking.
Two performances of Lickestra have already occurred. One was at the New York School of Visual Arts and the other was at Specials on C, a funky sort of art space in the East Village. Each performance featured a great deal of laughter and merriment as the artists would each approach their ice cream cone in a different way.
Baltz and Diana are looking to revamp Lickestra so that they can begin touring to other places and feature the sweet sort of melody that it is. They are looking at tweaking the “instrument” so that tone and tempo can both be adjusted and modified throughout any given performance. Diana says the duo “is still exploring the power of tongue based expression.” That note sounds like a yummy means of exploring music to most people, and while many may have to wait to see what Lickestra’s touring schedule is like, it will no doubt be another frozen masterpiece.
By Christina St-Jean