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Santi Vilanova

Santi Vilanova, Vila-Real, 1980.

Graduate in graphic design and passionate about sound art, Santi Vilanova has been able to combine these two disciplines through the catalyst of "creative technologies", of which he is a self-taught developer.

(de)Formed at the rave scene of the early 2000, his sound work has been evolving to integrate this underground influence into new territories. His recent research blend together digital algorithms or sonification engines with classic staves and acoustic ensembles, focusing on the idea of a visual music.

He is founder, with Eloi Maduell, of the Playmodes audiovisual research studio, where they develop projects at the edge of design, art and science.

Interests related to acoustics, mathematics, perception psycology or light phenomena crystallize at the shelter of Playmodes. Their projects, eclectic in nature -from opera scenography to immersive installations- always have as a common element a creative use of digital tools and the search for a unified audio+visual language.

As part of this collective, his works have been exhibited at light festivals (Fête des Lumieres, Signal, LlumBCN, Mapping Festival, LIT Bogotá, Chartres a Lumière ...), at electronic music events ( Sónar, Mira, LEV, DGTL, D4N Houston ...), at contemporary art or performing arts institutions (ZKM, Macau Arts Festival, In Between Time, Copenhagen Opera), and has been awarded with international distinctions in the field of new media (Ars Electronica Honorary Mention, LAUS, Visual Music Awards or LAMP awards).

He is also currently a university professor at the EINA school (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona), UOC and BAU (Universitat de Vic), teaching new generations of multimedia creators.

Work at the collection: Forms - Screen Ensemble

Santi Vilanova

Forms -Screen Ensemble, 2020

Forms - Screen Ensemble is a generative visual music jukebox. Driven by chance and probability, this automata creates endless, unrepeatable graphic scores that are immediately transformed into sound by means of sonification algorithms. Images become sound spectrums, making it possible to -literally- hear what you see. The dream of Kandinski.

Each screen of this networked ensemble plays a particular instrumental role: Rhythm, Harmony or Texture.

Performed by this trio of automats, a visual music symphony evolves over time giving birth to unique sonic landscapes that will never be repeated again: from tonal ambient music to raging rhythms, surreal electronic passages or dance-floor beats.

Forms – Screen Ensemble was presented at 2020’s edition of Ars Electronica festival in Barcelona, thanks to a grant given by NewArtFoundation, Institut Ramón Llull and


Forms is thought to be a flexible instrument in terms of formats and aspects. Because its fundamental nature is rooted in visual music algorithms rather than in a matter-specific phisicality, it can take many different forms. Although the Screen Ensemble takes the form of an automata inside boxes containing screens and speakers, we’re working on multiple derivatives that transcend this format: a live performance where a string quartet interprets the realtime generated scores; an immersive installation based on video-projection and multichannel audio; a software for live computer music or an internet streaming bot.


Forms is engineered by means of 2 main processes:

-A generative graphics software coded in Processing (javascript)

-A sonification algorithm developed in Max/MSP

On the graphic side, a deep mathematical research has been done in order to code timbrically and musically coherent graphics that create appealing rhythms, harmonies or textures.

On the sonic side, a number of ideas from the field of spectral synthesis and FFT are deployed.

In addition, a set of control routines command the evolution of compositions over time through weighted probabilities, Markov chains and chance algorithms.


The main feature of Forms is its visual music nature. It creates music you can see in an appealing yet scientifically coherent way.

It is also a step forward towards a way of presenting and enjoying algorithmic compositions. It is a whole new way of creating music, based on visual compositions rather than on staves or piano-rolls.

Its generative nature provides endless, unique, unrepeatable and rich music detached from the constrains of traditional language. Forms embraces the expressivity of drawn gestures and microtonality, unifying the visual and aural experience.

Forms - Screen Ensemble was funded by a production and exhibition grant by Institut Ramon Llull, NewArtFoundation and Hangar for Ars Electronica Garden Barcelona 2020.

Santi Vilanova
Santi Vilanova

Santi Vilanova

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