An interactive audio-visual installation I have created in 2010. It tracks colours, movement and uses less usual modulation sources – human brainwave data – to create a dreamy experience.
The installation was designed as an assignment for the Contemporary Audio Technology module at the University of West London. It was displayed during Electric Music Week (2010) as well as the university’s Summer Showcase later that year.
Equipment used: – laptop running Ableton Live & Max for Live (or Max/MSP/Jitter) – camera – green screen – large LCD TV (or projector) – audio amplifier + pair of speakers
Sources of the visual elements include both pre-recorded video and images generated in real-time. In some cases a significant amount of video feedback was utilised as well as some other graphic effects.
Data of sampled human brainwaves were used to create a visual representations of the waves, while the cumulated output of the brainwaves also serve as a source of modulation to control the colour changes of the visuals elements.
The movement of the spectator/performer is interpreted using colour tracking and the installation practically acts as a MIDI controller. By “touching” the dots at the top of the screen (or projected image) the performer can play melodies on a synthesiser. The scale of the notes is adjusted to the key of the backing tracks to avoid dissonance.
The game element of the installation is also prominent: after the phase of discovery when the performer became accustomed to the “virtual reality”, he/she might experience the hidden tricks in the installation. These tricks try to emphasise the element of playing by either confusing the performer by mirroring the image and changing the directions of his/her movements, or by pulling him/her out of the virtual reality by “flashing” the real image of the person for half a second instead of showing the visuals inside his/her silhouette.
Special thanks to Jonathan Warner & Colin Steele for their help in obtaining brainwave samples.