Sonic Mahjong

A sound installation that plays with randomness.

Made in 2019
MaxMsp, Laser Cutter

What level of random can sound like noise? What level can sound like melody? To explore this concept, I created a generative sound system on Max/Msp, and use the combination of colored light to map with the randomness of the sounds.

Sonic Mahjong is a sound installation that plays with randomness. The harmonics of the sound combination is mapped with the randomness of the light directed by different blocks of mahjong.

The experience of playing mahjong is a process of getting from organized to chaos. I decided to map that with the level of chaos in sound.


The installation is a set of mahjong on the table. Users can play with the mahjong to intervene with the sound. Users’ actions, installation and the sound in this space would become a piece of performance to other audience.

The Installation
  • A set of mahjong made from colored, transparent acrylic
  • A table with 4-5 light sources
  • A camera connected to max/msp or processing to analyze the light spectrum

How to play
  • user can move around the mahjong block on the table to change the light reflection and, thus, change the light spectrum, which is the input for the generative sound system

@2023 wenjing liu