Impossible Roller Coaster

hhiiddenn vvoorrttiicceess

Piano, electronics, 5 Soundbrenner watches, 2 strobe lights, video



Created for Zubin Kanga as part of the Cyborg Soloists project


Simulated roller coaster velocities become metronomic pulsations passing through wireless connections to small vibrating watches cueing a pianist to press keys that hit hammers on strings… Swirling emotional currents snake through our subconscious, carrying the traces of voices, sometimes whispered, often thunderous: SOPHIE, Maurice Ravel and Anri Sala. Thank you to my collaborators: Zubin Kanga, Soundbrenner, holly+, Justin Focus, Jasper Sutherland and Tyler Marghetis.

More Info

blog post here:

lecture here:



hhiiddeenn vvoorrttiiccess was created as part of the Cyborg Soloists project, in partnership with Soundbrenner.

Steel Becomes Silk, Gravity Recast

Living Score

Juliet Fraser, simulated roller coasters, video, electronic sound



Created for Juliet Fraser


This is a roller coaster. It looms, it arches, it curls and twists… 

 This is a roller coaster project by multidisciplinary artist Luke Nickel and soprano Juliet Fraser, a 15-minute performance combining voice and simulated roller coasters commissioned by Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival for performance in November 2021. In this collaborative piece, Juliet and Luke transform roller coasters into sound through a process of simulated gravitational witchcraft. 

 The piece is built through a process of conversation and experimentation. Juliet has created a roller coaster in her mind, and has sung its tracks, its speed, its height and its G-force. Luke has been constructing simulated roller coasters in a digital space, and has collaborated with A.I. to write a witchy spell. Nothing is notated. The emerging piece has a living score, embodied in the mind and the muscle memory. 

 In the performance, Juliet and Luke face each other on stage. Juliet sings an unearthly, timeless music born of crests, hills and loops. From a laptop, Luke creates a mesmerising digital landscape of writhing simulated roller coasters that are projected beyond the performers for all to see. A strange incantation — co-written with an artificial intelligence module (GPT-2) — describes a roller coaster, gives voice to the roller coaster, transforms itself and the listener into a roller coaster.

 …Steel becomes hair and fingernails, joining with muscles and tendons, animal and human and metal…


  • Nov 2021, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival:


Palace64 was created with the generous support of the Manitoba Arts Council. The roller coaster was created using NoLimits 2,

Impossible Roller Coaster Tutorials 1-3

Standalone Video


1080p, 2 channel audio


Created for CMHK


Forget everything you know about roller coasters. Forget the idea that roller coasters are made for humans. Forget the idea that roller coasters must be designed and built in a process that takes thousands of hours. Enter a creative state where roller coasters are sculptures of speed, gravity, and potential motion. Enter a creative state where you can create roller coasters as fast as molten metal. Enter a creative state where boundaries, intersections, danger and collisions are productive and empowering goals. Embrace the impossible…
In this three part tutorial series, I will guide you through the concepts and practicalities of designing impossible digital roller coasters using No Limits Coaster 2. In each video, we will practice releasing our minds from the shackles of mortality and gravity and allow ourselves to consider the infinite possibilities that roller coasters might (re)present. I will also provide technical strategies for roller coaster design rooted in my own practice of using simulation software for artmaking. Each video is accompanied by an original electronic soundtrack and contains multiple visual sequences to illustrate the various concepts.
These tutorials are suitable for anyone curious about the intersections between roller coaster design, electronic music and impossible thinking. No previous experience is necessary!


  • October 15, 2020, Hong Kong Arts Centre, CMHK Sound Forms Festival


Impossible Roller Coaster Tutorials 1-3 was created with the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts. The roller coaster was created using NoLimits 2, and the video was edited in Adobe Premiere Pro.


Living Score

Unspecified Chamber Ensemble



Created for Decibel New Music


In Palace64, I wanted to explore algorithmic roller coaster building. I created 20+ roller coasters using various formulae, which I imported as paths to Nolimits Coaster. Then, I created a custom 3D environment and shot countless hours of video, which I edited into what you see above! I wanted to evoke the idea of a post-human roller coaster environment reminiscent of a coral reef on an alien planet.

Musically, the piece consists of a pre-recorded track made up of a stretched out field recording taken at Thorpe Park as well as live acoustic instruments. I transmitted this piece to Decibel orally using a series of recorded spoken transmissions. During the performance, the musicians react to both the impossible virtual roller coasters on screen and mental and embodied memories of roller coasters—both real and imagined.


  • July 25, 2019 by Decibel New Music at Monash University at TENOR2019 in Melbourne, Australia

Further Information


Palace64 was created with the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts. The roller coaster was created using NoLimits 2, and the video was edited in Adobe Premiere Pro. Special thanks to Cat Hope.


Traditional Score

Unspecified Chamber Ensemble (at least 4 instruments) + solo amplified voice + tape + video



Created for TAK Ensemble


Moonriver32 is dedicated to the memory of my aunt, Patricia Bouk. This piece draws inspiration and material from a number of sources: a recording of a dying carousel playing Moon River, Audrey Hepburn singing the same iconic song in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, my early teenage experience designing roller coasters… The video in Moonriver32 depicts an impossible roller coaster… a kind of whimsical yet nightmarish Audrey Hepburn-themed thrill ride. When I designed roller coasters at an early age, I was concerned with realism. Now, fifteen years later, I am more inspired by conceptual art and Disney’s Imagineering than real world physics….



Moonriver32 was created with the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts. The roller coaster was created using NoLimits 2, and the video was edited in Adobe Premiere Pro.