Song of Distances

Webpage, Internet, HTML, Javascript, GPS data, 2019

“Song of Distances (距離之歌)” is a participatory and algorithmic composition based on ubiquitous computing. It praises the concept of compressed time/space and connectivity. Each login session is represented as a node in the topographic coordinate by granting access to GPS data by the user. The system calculates the session period and relative distances between the center and each node to generate m. At the same time, the orientation affects the spatiality of the sound, transforming the positioning data into audible events. Each networked entity that contributes data to the system is the center point of its coordinate and a detective node on other devices. The user can close the webpage or keep it open while moving; all of the behavior and decisions reflect on the parameters of the generative music. Thus, this piece gradually evolves with crowd participation as a collective experience on the Internet.


  1. Scan the QR code to open a webpage. Follow the instruction to authorize the positioning data of your mobile device.
  2. The webpage displays a topographic coordinate with relative distance and direction of historical sessions and the device in your hand.
  3. The connected device triggers the sound by scanning the surrounding nodes while being detected by other devices.
  4. You can scan the QR code anywhere to reconnect to the system to affect the music through mobility; The node becomes offline after closed the webpage.

Note: Users must open the GPS and Location Service on their devices to participate in this piece.

Installation View

Instruction Card

Laptop View

Smartphone view


“Song of Distances” is a generative music piece that uses real-time positioning data from connected sessions as its material. The project blends the complexity of mobile networks, data collection, personal privacy, and ubiquitous computing with the artistic traditions of generative music. It is a participatory and algorithmic composition that highlights the concept of time and space compression while also exploring the potential of comprehensive connectivity.

The project employs a generative music system that plays off with other systems, utilizing algorithms, a database, and a responsive web-based interface to create a unique musical experience. Users are prompted to grant access to their GPS data and device information, which is then written to a cloud-based database. The webpage displays an animated radar that scans for surrounding nodes and generates corresponding musical sounds based on the relative distances and orientations of the nodes.

The webpage also features an embedded program that continuously calculates session data and relative distances between the center and each node, transforming the positioning data into audible events. Each networked entity is represented as a node on a topographic coordinate, with the node’s color indicating whether it is online or offline. The system utilizes session cookies to update the real-time session information to a server before it expires.

A musical scale is distributed on each annulus, beginning from the origin and gradually expanding outward in a concentric manner. The farther the annulus is from the center, the higher the pitch triggered by nodes located in its area. In this project, every user is their own center but shares the same data set with all connected sessions, allowing for a collective and collaborative musical experience.

The project showcases how frugal innovation can be applied to new interfaces for musical expression by utilizing easily affordable resources available to many people while respecting users’ privacy. The project webpage is also built with a responsive JavaScript framework, allowing for seamless integration with any device. Furthermore, the project’s accessibility and interactivity encourage participation from a diverse range of users and create a sense of community, adding to the overall experience.

👉Project Demo Link 

Production Team
  • Web Design: Wu Che-Yu
  • Programming: Lo Jo-Yu
  • Artist & Sound Design: Chi Po-Hao

This project was partially supported by National Cultural and Arts Foundation