Andrew McWilliams

Responsive Granular Sound

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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
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.

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Kinecting to the Network

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Tom and Hayden have been working on grabbing Kinect data, which is basically data about human movement, and sending it out across the network. The graphics server (an Alienware laptop) reads the data from the network and uses it to render an Augmented Reality scene, which is projected up on the wall.

Barney interacting with a Kinect
Barney interacting with a Kinect

The Kinect is a very cool Microsoft device which was designed for the Xbox 360. It's great for mapping realistic human activity into a 3D model in realtime. It has two cameras onboard - one infrared camera for reading depth data, one webcam-style camera for getting a regular video image matrix.

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First Working Day

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Yesterday was our first day in the space (Nutrecht). It's a huge empty warehouse building with a number of large empty spaces. When we arrived several other installations were in the process of being set up.

It's very cold, and everyone is walking around with coats and scarves on. Music and random sounds keep kicking out from around the warehouse.

An odd device in the corridor
An odd device in the corridor

I met the other collaborators first thing at the airport to come out here (most for the first time). Gareth Griffiths is organising and managing the team. Mike Wilson is preparing 3D meshes and objects to make up the scene, and Joseph Mounsey is working on the visualisation and dynamics of the augmented scene.

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Designs for Freemote

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It's actually quite an odd task we have set ourselves here. Rather than build an installation between three collaborators over eight days, we will be working as 8 collaborators over 3 days. It's a very quick project, but with a lot of people and large scope for the size.

The theme of this year's Freemote festival is 'Threshold'. Based on an online conversation and a single meeting, the group have come up with an outline for the installation we are going to attempt.

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Freemote Utrecht

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I've been invited to collaborate with V4W next week in Holland, at Freemote Electronic Arts festival in Utrecht. We'll be working on a multi-Kinect 3D augmented reality piece - a flyer has been posted here, should give you some idea.

Once I get there I'll be blogging about the creation of the work and the festival overall, should be a great week! Here are some photos from previous year's events, and the space we'll be working with.

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Untitled - Picture This (2011)

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This untitled work was created as a response to Molly Pearson's poem 'Picture This'. It was installed at AlphaVille 2011, in association with V4W and the Young Poets Network:

Molly's poem dealt with the of passing time, of memories of the past and ideas about the future. One of the key ideas in the poem was the present moment's role as a dividing line between the two. You can read the poem in full here.

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The Wider Context?

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Art Review have placed Ai Weiwei at the top of it's Power 100 list for 2011.

Ai Weiwei has been getting a lot of coverage here in London recently, with his show at the Tate and subsequent arrest in China. In response to Art Review the Chinese government made a statement: "We feel that a selection that is based purely on a political bias and perspective has violated the objectives of the magazine".

Free Ai Weiwei
Free Ai Weiwei (credit: jasonbchen)
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