Hacking Richter

How We Hacked the Richter Window

Hacking Richter:  the Cologne Cathedral organ

Hacking Richter is poetry in motion […] design is here understood in terms of using and linking different elements.

Red Dot Jury

Cologne Cathedral’s organ features a MIDI output. We used this connection to transfer the signals to our server. Using the software we developed specially for the evening, we associated certain colors with specific frequencies and volumes. Wi-Fi was set up just for the evening so that visitors could use their smartphone’s browser to connect to our server’s Web socket. The results were eye-catching. The server was able to control the color displayed on each smartphone individually.

During the concert, cathedral organist Prof. Winfried Bönig set the tone – and the color, too. The music provided acoustic as well as visual stimulation, and controlled the connected smartphone screens using color.

Every experiment comes with risks. For the interactive “Hacking Richter” installation, these came in the form of the organ’s MIDI interface, which caused an unexpected break in the music. Fortunately, the concert was able to continue after just a few minutes.

Numerous awards were given for the awe-inspiring interactive concert in the darkened Cologne Cathedral.