Selected Interactive Installation Works

Toccata Orpheus (2008)

New Collaboration with the renowned Swedish guitarist Stefan Osterjo performing Rolf Rheim's Toccata Orpheus within a new version of the Evolving Oblique interactive installation

 

 

EVOLVING OBLIQUE ( 2004)

in collaboration with Steffen Bluemm and Bill Haslett

Evolving Oblique Images (From Japan)
Evolving Oblique Video
Evolving Oblique Design

The Evolving Oblique is a research project and an interactive audio-visual installation centred upon the creation of a synthetic territory. The installation re-contextualises notions of landscape and architectural form into a transformative topology. The research concentrates upon the space of interface between the body and computer. The performative space is defined by the image and its fluctuating projective physical surface, and the complexities of the feedback system, blurring the distinctions between object and subject, the body is extended into the environment and the environment bleeds its tectonics into the body. Through interaction the piece connects real and virtual movement, creating a conceptual construction whereby perception and action are combined. Architecture becomes a migrant, expanding the notion of place, for the projected imagery space is a medium, a substance through which events are interrelated by interference and amplification.

The installation is composed of three sets of double semi-transparent screens in a triangular formation, and three projectors situated at each edge projecting towards the centre. A small video camera is mounted in the ceiling in the central interactive zone. The installation is intended for a single user within the interactive zone. The triangular configuration forms a notional panorama, or immersive environment; a world between worlds, beyond the normal temporal order, a web in which orientation is defamiliarized. The use of monochrome induces the black background to disappear and the light forms appear to float on, and between the screens. The dialogue between the screens creates forces of withdrawal and disclosure of the projected image, oscillating the perception of the installation space between an extension or three dimensionality of the image and marking surface tensions.


The original inspiration of the project was a marginal territory of marshland in East Anglia, U.K. Constantly subject to dynamic tidal and wind forces this shifting landscape is perpetually in flux: an environment characterised by palimpsest, sedimentation and erosion. In the Evolving Oblique, architectural forms and metaphors of landscape combine to form a notional topology. The imagery is composed of animations from 3D models. These forms are conceived as rubber topology such that skin and structure become the same element. Through the metaphor of the Deleuzian fold or le pli, the   (interior /exterior) surface is essentially the same, open to plastic deformation.  The forms construct a soft network of variable dimensions which oscillate between vector, curvature and enclosed space  blended to form the virtual landscape. Through variations of transparency and porosity, these dynamic membranes enact reflexive relationships creating forms that inflect, rotate, extrude, mutate. The mobile 3D forms are mapped with video textures from real landscape. The imagery operates somewhere between the virtual and the real, allowing for multiple interpretations.


The virtual imagery produces an environment, integrating the horizon into the curved lines of a vortex to destabilize the perceptual space. Rather than giving the territory singular limits, which are characterised by traditional relationships between figure and ground, these limits are set into motion; they become blurred and continually evolve. There is no singular route or final destination. Rather a territory is created that is intertwined with the unique movement of the viewer.
The imagery is composed from over 20 complex 3D models which have virtual cameras animated to form paths of movement transgressing through them. The viewer’s movement relates to the movement within the models. The animations consist of 15 second video clips relating to each camera movement, combined to form a continual sequence through cross fading between each clip such that the environment appears as a continuous fluid space. For example a movement to the left will trigger a corresponding pan to the left. These models are combined in a random sequence, such that the viewer will explore an evolving landscape. Through the viewers movement a unique spatial trajectory is enacted on the level of presentation through the real- time video processing.

 

Prague International Biennalle Images

Comments from Participants:

 “I felt a great sense of  moving through the virtual space, inducing both anxiety and peace.  I felt a sense of being oppressed but at the same time I felt sense of release.”


“The triangular formation of the screens allowed an oscillating perception of enclosure at each apex and space spreading out towards the centre.”

 “I felt like I was in water or a forest, although nature is not formed by humans, I could still experience nature inside man-made elements, within these images and screens. I felt I was in between the real and the virtual.”


The installation is an interactive environment that allows the participant to enact a form of choreography through a synthetic territory. Thus the interaction through the intuitive interface allows for a range of movement and dialogue with the environment. The installation utilises four Macintosh computers. One tracking computer retrieves the information of the users movement inside the interactive zone and three computers provide full pal resolution video signals for the three projectors and generate the soundscape. The articulation and programming of the multiple 3D models forms one seamless territory.
The interactivity network operates through Max/MSP-Jitter. The only sensor used is a video camera. As this installation was designed to adapt to the recipients and not to specific performers one of the main technical challenges was to implement the tracking in a way that automatically detects people and does not rely on an operator to define the recipient to be tracked. A form of colour tracking is used but with an infra-red camera filter and infra-red directional light. Therefore artificial light sources (such as the projectors) have no effect on the tracking itself, and the participant requires no special clothing or props.
By the participant moving in different directions or with different speeds, the landscape and spatialised soundscape mutates. Rather than concentrating on positions within space, it is the direction of movement that is key, in a specific period of time. Only when the participant is immobile the imagery freezes, can a static Euclidian form be extracted from the dynamic space.  When dynamic, the topology constructed through the imagery describes a non Euclidian space, for duration is fundamentally inherent by virtue to its vectorial nature.
Grounded in the projection of the image, and the action of the body in space, movement may be ‘passed on’ from the virtual to the real, from imagery to the spatial structure, from the spatial structure to the body, and from the body to the virtual. Many participants of the installation have communicated sensations of flying, or floating, and  immersal.
The augmented reality installations may propose new approaches both to architectural thinking in the aesthetics and use of moving image media.Through these modes of vision and becoming, the body may interact with a transformative environment, the result of the body timing its actions from horizon to breath. The installation is a form of inhabitation; whereby virtual movement is connected to ones own movements, creating something far more sensitive and responsive than architecture of frames and solids.

Information

The Evolving Oblique was produced during a residency at IAMAS (International Institute of Media, Art and Science) in Japan with Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau. The installation forms part of PhD research funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Board.

My collaborator Steffen Bluemm worked primarily on the camera tracking, programming and interactive design and was supported by the Heinz Nixdorf Foundation and I.A.M.A.S.

Bill Haslett developed and produced the interactive soundscape.

EXHIBITIONS

Ogaki Biennale 2004, Japan

Multi Media 2004, New York awarded Best Video

International Conference on Artificial Reality and Telexistence (ICAT) 2005, Korea

Performative Space Exhibition, Prague International Biennale 2005

 

Korea Exhibition Images, Seoul 2005