The Tomato Quintet team is made up of farmer/musician Chris Chafe, a composer, cellist, music reseacher and director of Stanford University’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, artist/chef Greg Niemeyer, Associate Professor for New Media at the UC Berkeley, as well as foreman/engineer Sasha Leitman and builder/designer Curtis Tamm.
Tomato Quintet (2007/ 2010) is a musification and visualization of the relation of air qualities between a container with 1 cubic meter of ripening tomatoes and the ambient environment. Tent walls made from sheets of mylar are induced to vibrate through transducers attached to their top and bottom. Visitors to the tent will find a plexiglass chamber filled with green tomatoes. During the course of the show, the green tomatoes will ripen to perfection while air quality sensors measure the gas output (CO, CO2, NO2, plus Temperature and Light) of the climacteric ripening process. Our software, Tomato Quintet 2.0, will compare the patterns and differences of air qualities in the two spaces, and render them audibly through speakers and headphones. On the final day of the Biennial, the project will convert the now ripe tomatoes into a Taco Salsa, which will be served to lunch guests. During the lunch, we will also play the full set of tomato ripening data in a musification which is accelerated by a factor of 240X.