Tomato Quintet (CH/US)

Interactive installation with ripening tomatoes, tents, sensors, electronics, electric fan, 5-channel sound system, and music server.
Chris Chafe, United States, (Stanford University) and Greg Niemeyer, Switzerland (University of California, Berkeley)
Tomato Quintet 3.0 is a light, large, five-armed play tent with tomatoes ripening in the middle, and dance music, sound and light effects emanating from the whole. The sound, the music and the lights are controlled by the ripening process of the tomatoes through a continuous electronic composition. Visitors enter the tent through one of the five tunnels and can dance and observe the ripening tomatoes in the central cone-shaped section of the tent. The visitors respirations accelerate the ripening process, which in turn accelerates the dance music and lights. The main sponsor for the installation was Swissnex San Francisco.
Artist bios:
Chris Chafe, Co-Principal Investigator, Waves (
Chafe is a composer, improvisor, cellist, and music researcher with an interest in computers and interactive performance. He has been a long-term denizen of the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics where he is the center’s director and teaches computer music courses. Three year-long periods have been spent at IRCAM, Paris, and The Banff Centre making music and developing methods for computer sound synthesis. The SoundWIRE project launched in 2000 involves real-time Internet concertizing with collaborators the world over. New tools for playing music together and research into latency factors continue to evolve. An active performer either on the net or physically present, his music is heard in Europe, the Americas and Asia. The five countries “Resonations” concert was hosted by the United Nations in Nov., 2009. CD’s of works are available from Centaur Records. Gallery and museum music installations are continuing into their second decade with biological, medical and environmental “musifications” featured as the result of collaborations with artists, scientists and MD’s.
Greg Niemeyer,  Co-Principal Investigator, Tomatoes (
Born in Switzerland in 1967, Greg Niemeyer studied Classics and Photography. He started working with new media when he arrived in the Bay Area in 1992 and he received his MFA from Stanford University in New Media in 1997. At the same time, he founded the Stanford University Digital Art Center, which he directed until 2001, when he was appointed at UC Berkeley as Assistant Professor for New Media. At UC Berkeley, he is an executive member and co-founder of the Center for New Media, focusing on the critical analysis of the impact of new media on human experiences.
His creative work focuses on the mediation between humans as individuals and humans as a collective through technological means, and emphasizes playful responses to technology. His most recognized projects were Gravity (Cooper Union, NYC, 1997), PING (SFMOMA, 2001), Oxygen Flute, with Chris Chafe (SJMA, 2002), Organum (Pacific Film Archive, 2003), Ping 2.0 (Paris, La Villette Numerique, 2004), Organum Playtest (2005), and Good Morning Flowers (SFIFF 2006, Townhouse Gallery, Cairo, Egypt, 2006),and, with Joe McKay, the Balance Game (Cairo 2007, London, 2007). The Black Cloud (2008) was funded by the MacArthur Foundation to provide an alternate reality game about air quality in a Los Angeles High School, Manual Arts. In 2011, Niemeyer founded the Social App lab at CITRIS to promote shifts in stages of reasoning through gameplay.