Posted Wednesday, 14 December 2011
A few nights ago, after 3 intense days and nights of working, we installed our collaborative installation at Freemote Utrecht. After all the work, it was up for about 6 hours.
The group I've been working with, V4W, do this a lot - it's all part of the process for them. Turn up with a bunch of equipment, create an artwork onsite during opening hours, and display it on the final night. While we were working, people came over and observed, made comments (and jokes), and asked questions.
|We were our exhibit (on the left)|
Speaking to Gareth and Hayden about it, they say they like the exposure it gives to the subculture of digital artists, musicians and programmers, i.e. us. It's difficult for people to get a handle on what exactly it is we do, unlike say in film, music or painting. Don't get me wrong, there is a world of hidden esoteric knowledge and in-culture in those media, but the difference is that audiences have had a lot longer to figure out their relationship to it.
We did a similar thing at AlphaVille, so this is my second run with V4W. For me personally, I like the challenge. But I'm not sure how convinced I am about working that way regularly - it's hectic. Quick choices have to be made, and with eight people on a short timescale, people can pull in different directions.
In any case, what results is quite nice simply for that reason. It's a Frankenstein of different creative impulses thrown together, each relatively uncensored and forced to mix on equal terms. No hierarchy seemed to develop, and no-one was precious or held the group to ransom. It's probably because they pretty much all know each other and have worked together before, and are an open-minded group.
|Doing Yoga... no not really|
Actually somebody in the group said that it's because we're all British (and so we have a stereotype to live up to). I'm not sure about that, but with a different mix of people, I could easily see more tension.
So in effect Gareth was more a coordinator than a director. As for my role, I became more a technical consultant and facilitator. Due to some tight deadlines for proposals in the run-up to the trip, I wasn't really able to get into the design discussion until after the concept was concretised. I arrived looking for something to do and found an open niche as Max/MSP developer, helping to create the interactive sound based somewhere between Barney's sound design (mostly musical) and Alex's audio manipulation ideas (mostly noise).
|Some of the other installations|
I didn't feel like what we needed was another voice on top of these two, pushing yet another creative direction, so instead I looked for synthesis between them. The two streams proved divergent, and I think in the end we just allowed that to be. There was a music section and an interactive sound section, running at different times, and honestly each were far better without the interference of the other.
The three aspects of the video - the particles, the floor and the balls - all seemed to come together on equal terms, but we'll see how people feel about that in the retrospective we have coming up.
So again, it all points to what it was - a 3 day, open, creative experiment. We created a piece for exhibition, but in the end the exhibition was us, programming, composing, designing and setting up hardware. At least, I think that's what 70% of visitors to the festival will remember from it. But it seems that's what V4W are about - exposing the subculture.
I'm looking forward to (and slightly afraid of) the next time we work together.
- Freemote Threshold
- Audio / Visual
Posted Thursday, 8 December 2011
Alex, Barney and I have been making an responsive sound environment. The idea is that when people walk into the installation space, their 'skeleton' is assigned an instrument from the currently playing music track.
|Setting up the space|
As they move around, their movements control effects on that instrument only. When another person enters the space, they are assigned another instrument and each can continue to control their own instrument independently of each other, each person contributing to the overall sound.
With multiple people controlling different aspects of the sound, it could easily get a bit chaotic. So we are keeping some tracks fixed, playing back a blanket of sound against which the other controlled instruments can springboard.
|Composing with Reason - roughly speaking each instrument above will be controlled by one Kinect skeleton|
Barney has made some mellow electronic tracks, with looping melodies. The idea is that there will be some pace and a connection with the electronic music taking place in the rest of the venue. He has used Reason to compose the music and render out individual tracks for us to cut apart in realtime in Max/MSP.
Alex and I have created a Max/MSP patch to handle interaction with the sound environment. It's kind of the go-between for the music against the interaction values received over the network from the graphics server.
|Cutting it up with a modular Max/MSP patch|
The Max/MSP patch operates on up to 8 rendered tracks (instruments) for each of Barney's compositions - each track is controlled by one Kinect skeleton. Each track has up to 9 controllable attributes (reverb / granular synthesis / VSTs). So each Kinect skeleton controls 9 attributes on a single track of the currently playing composition.
One of the key parts of building this environment has been modularising Alex's original granular synth and reverb patches, so that they can be re-used with different settings and against different buffers (above).
We also created a 4-way panning system based on VBAP to allow us to pan sounds around the four speakers in our installation environment. Each rendered track can be panned individually. We'll be experimenting later today to figure out whether this panning should also be controlled by OSC data or some built-in pattern related to the sounds.
Posted Monday, 13 June 2011
Gravity is an installation work inspired by Mark Rothko and the Seagram Murals. It was installed at Jaaga in June 2011 and was part of the Sound & Lights exhibition in Richmond Town.
What was important for me about Gravity was making a connection with viewers who spend time with the piece. The process of creation was very intuitive, and not pre-planned. In this way I feel the connection is somehow direct, and personal.
There may be a context in which Gravity was conceived and created (at Jaaga in it's final days in Richmond Town), but in contrast to Reflections, the piece is not strongly associated to that context. It is abstract and psychological in nature. In this vein I think Gravity could be extended, continued, redefined in the future.
Variation and Revelation
The aim of the piece is to create a continuous, relentless, slow revelation. With each second that passes, a few new pieces of information, in the form of subtle variations, enter into the audiovisual 'window' of the world. Each new piece of information tells us something about the nature of that world, and adds to our understanding of it. In seeking to understand more about that world we become connected to it - the psychology of the viewer becomes increasingly involved.
Composition and Rhythm
There are three custom-created canvass panels, onto which light is projected. Each reveals the same tear but with slight and subtle differences in trajectory (pan, tilt and momentum).
The audio and visual movement are continuously generated in real-time, and so there is no 'loop'. The movement of each tear across it's canvass is anchored to the movement of the other two tears. There are three audio synth lines echoing the three tears, and similarly, each is free to choose it's own direction but is anchored to it's peers.
There is also an overarching rhythm which slowly and gently arcs over the piece (it can be heard sometimes as a continuous gentle bass 'thud'). This overarching rhythm is subtle and too broad to follow for long in itself, but it sets the boundaries within which both the visual-triptych and synth-triptych flow; it sets the progressive tone of the whole piece over time.
Posted Monday, 13 June 2011
Reflections is a 3D-sound installation created for the Jaaga artspace in Bangalore.
The piece is a kind of commentary on transience. The Jaaga building was to be torn down, and so the voices of core community members are given the freedom to rise up and float freely across the metallic structure. Each voice has it's own direction, it's own perspective, and it's own trajectory - united only by the common framework of the Jaaga space.
Reflections is deliberately very pluralistic, not confined to any one room, not about any one person or thing. In it's structure, it is not spatialised according to a particular speaker layout (it is designed in such a way that it could work with any conceivable speaker layout).
In this way it contrasts with the much 'heavier', much more personal Gravity installation, which was created to form part of the same exhibition in 2011. Reflections was designed as a counterpoint to Gravity, in which the feelings and perspectives of the community take center stage.
Posted Wednesday, 27 April 2011
I searched today for a new 3D sound solution for Max/MSP, in a deliberate attempt to get away from Ambisonics and other 'sweet-spot'-inspired spatialisation techniques. Funnily enough, what I found led me back to a familiar name from Ambisonics - Graham Wakefield.
As it turns out, Graham is quite prolific. After building the core Ambisonics externs he went on to create Cosm - a virtual world environment. It's comprehensive, it works in Max/MSP/Jitter, and Graham is very open to let people use it. For me as a novice at Jitter it was a breeze to pick up thanks to a great website and an excellent tutorial.
|A screencap of the Cosm environment, mixing solid objects with a diffusion pattern|
Cosm's particular emphasis is in the relationship between solid objects and diffuse elements. Solid objects are modeled with traditional vector graphic techniques, and diffusion is modeled by underlying 3D value matrices. Perfect for Jitter.
When it came to building in sound, the natural choice for Graham was to use his Ambisonics externs. After all, this is how people have come to expect to explore virtual worlds - from a first-person, virtual camera, 'sweet spot' perspective.
Using Collision Detection
As I discussed in a previous post, first-person perspective is not what this is all about. But that's no problem - I can bypass the cosm.audio~ object altogether and use collision detection values to ramp up and down the volume levels on individual loudspeakers.
|A representation of a sound object (red) passing through a loudspeaker catchment area (green)|
In the image above, the red octahedron represents a moving sound object. The green sphere represents a loudspeaker catchment area. As the sound object intersects the catchment area, the volume of that sound for that loudspeaker goes up.
|Using collision detection to set volume levels|
This solution also fulfills the 'environmental' type of 3D sound environment I described at the end of this post (see 'What Ambisonics Can't Do'). With enough loudspeakers, you should be able to mimic the sound of a bird flying through the space so that it will appear differently (and correctly) to two different observers.
If any readers have any suggestions of where I can look up examples of, or information on this type of effect, please let me know! Unfortunately, we won't be able to achieve quite this effect at Jaaga, though I'll be aiming for a smaller version of it.
- Jaaga Residency (17)
- Jaaga (15)
- I-Park Residency (12)
- Process (12)
- Personal Development (11)
- RGBDToolkit (11)
- V4W (10)
- Installation (10)
- VVVV (9)
- Field Research (8)
- CAC Residency (7)
- Tutorial (7)
- Freemote Threshold (7)
- SuperCollider (7)
- Kinect (7)
- Freemote (7)
- Long (7)
- Audio / Visual (6)
- Reflections (6)
- Influence (5)
- Projection Mapping (5)
- Max/MSP (5)
- Arduino (5)
- Gravity (4)
- Motor (4)
- openFrameworks (4)
- Jaaga Sound and Lights (4)
- Portable Projection (4)
- Asus Xtion (3)
- ThoughtWorks (3)
- Land Art (3)
- James George (3)
- michael fairfax (3)
- RGBDToolkit Visualizer (3)
- Roman Moshensky (3)
- Rocks (3)
- Jee Soo Shin (3)
- Presentation (2)
- Sketch (2)
- Volumetric Lab (2)
- Calibration (2)
- Phenomenology (2)
- Git (2)
- Cosm (2)
- Picture This (2)
- Memo Akten (2)
- Tess Martin (2)
- Boaz Aharonovitch (2)
- Volumetric Society (2)
- Mac (2)
- Measure (2)
- Generative Art (2)
- Depth (2)
- Projection Bombing (2)
- Creative Context (2)
- Depth Video (2)
- Total Space (2)
- CultureHub (2)
- C# (2)
- Review (2)
- Eyebeam (2)
- Ralph Crispino (2)
- 3D (2)
- Mobile Projection (2)
- Judith Stein (2)
- Apple (2)
- Untitled (Picture This) (2)
- Scott Wilson (2)
- Natural Textures (2)
- Brian Eno (2)
- Alpha-Ville (2)
- Study (2)
- The Visual Art of Brian Eno
- RGBDToolkit Sketch at The Sampler
- The Artist-Geek Hybrid
- RGBDToolkit Calibration Tutorial
- How a Depth Sensor Works - in 5 Minutes
- Residency Begins at CAC Troy
- Installation Sketch at Open Studios
- Roman Moshensky's Mirror World
- Open Studios at I-Park
- Perception as a Creative Process
- The I-Park Graveyard
- Scoping Out the Land
- Residency Begins at I-Park
- Residency at Contemporary Artists Center
- Stephen Lumenta's SC TextMate Bundle
- Adding OF Addons (ofxSuperCollider)
- Setting up SuperCollider with TextMate
- Switching to MacBook Pro
- QuickRef for SuperCollider
- Getting Started with SuperCollider
- Getting Started with OpenFrameworks
- Overtones, Harmonics and Additive Synthesis
- Visit to Cold Spring
- The Final Exhibition
- Playing with Particles
- Responsive Granular Sound
- Kinecting to the Network
- First Working Day
- Designs for Freemote
- Freemote Utrecht
- Untitled - Picture This (2011)
- The Wider Context?
- Trading Time for Space
- Talk at Goldsmiths Digital Studios
- Intro to Marius Watz
- Practical Guide to Generative Art
- Cosm, Collision Detection and Volume
- Vector-Base Amplitude Panning
- Intuition, and Direction of the Project
- Reflections: What is Jaaga?
- Going Further with Ambisonics
- Introduction to Ambisonics
- Surface (2010)
- Servo Motors and Transistors
- Spinning a 12V DC Motor
- Spinning a 5V DC Motor
- First Week at Jaaga
- Presentation Style
- Beginning the Jaaga Fellowship