Mexico, for Flute Trio and Electronics will be performed on Sunday 19th September, 4PM by the Trio d'Argent at the Maison du Brésil: Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris, 17 boulevard Jourdan 75014 Paris. Hope that you can make it! More information about this wonderful weekend festival of contemporary music at the Cité Int'l. can be found here: http://www.futurscomposes.com/activites/evenements/
I have recently received a new publication by Swarovski Crystal Palace on Arik Levy's Osmosis exhibition in Milan, 2009. I contributed an essay in this book about our experience in creating the interactive video for the exhibition.
Above: An image from the interactive video by Arik Levy.
My deep thanks to Arik Levy and the Swarovski team for this unique artistic and human experience. And to artist, Natasha Newton, for her constant encouragement and for her unparalleled precision in helping me to edit and proof-read the text.
Below is a quick photograph of the article. Following it, I have pasted the original text, as well as some page views and a downloadable example of the sound environment in mp3 format, for those interested.
Best to all,
Interactive Arena, article by Leon Milo.
Having completed the sound design and programming for Arik Levy’s Osmosis exhibition, I am thinking about the choices that we made. The choice of sounds, their qualities and their origins. The density of textures and how they fill a space. The way in which the transformation of these sounds might enhance a viewer’s perception of an object (either real or as an image), and ways of accompanying the experience of being confronted with an image which reacts to one’s every move!
Osmosis is the latest in a series of installations with Arik Levy, starting more than a decade ago, in which we explore and play with the relationships between art, design, sound and space.
But this installation was different. Unique in it’s enormity and unique in it’s amplitude. Unique in the variety of objects as well as in their variations of form, texture, color and function. My part in this 800 square-meter exhibit was to create an interactive sound world which would accompany a 5x8 meter, 3D image in the form of an interactive, floating and multi-faceted diamond shape. These same sounds would also be used as the audio environment for the entire exhibit.
After walking through the 100 meter x 8 meter installation, (a veritable “Mystery Tour” of color and form) we come into a space made especially for interactive video, in constant motion and constant transition. A geometry formed and reformed, exploded and reconfigured by the presence and movement of people at the ultimate arrival point! A model of transition from one state to another, and a game allowing us to take part in the creativity and transformation of elements.
I often think of objects (and spaces) as being resonant. Of tending towards a certain type of sound or sonic ambience. Perhaps as a percussionist, after years of seeing and trying out everything as a potential instrument, I began to feel as if I could intuitively see how an object would vibrate! Of course, all matter is made up of atoms in motion. The ability to excite these atoms allows for sound waves which move the air. It is certainly possible to analyze and recreate the sound of a specific object using physical modeling software. It is a technique which I have frequently used, with results producing very musical sound material!
But when conceiving a sound environment for an exhibition such as this, imagining ways which help a viewer feel a physical and emotional link with what they are experiencing, I first of all let intuition be my guide. I imagine sound, textures or sonic spaces driven by a feeling or abstract idea. It may be a suggestive shape, an ambience, or simply a quality of light. Sounds which may give the impression that the objects themselves are in vibration, as if the molecule’s movements were being scanned by a giant sonic microscope!
The original sounds for Osmosis came mostly from samples of glass, resonant crystal, ice, rock, earth movement and various bowed metal instruments recorded in my studio. At first, extremely quiet and subtle, the sounds become huge when modified by two harmonizer software treatments, changing the pitch, length, sound quality and frequencies, etc. by way of movement in front of the video. This movement is captured by a video cam, sending the information to the video and sound treatment software. Completely fluid, these sounds become super visions of what they were originally, as if changing from cold to hot, brittle to flexible, liquid to solid!
Eight stereo sound banks play back the treated audio at different speeds, with various 4-channel panning, volume, and mix of pure and treated sounds, depending on the number of people and level of movement in the viewing area. As the public moves and plays with the image, the sound follows with different intensities and varying qualities. This sound is diffused in real time on the other side at the start of the exhibition, and audible in the distance on either side throughout the space, giving us a preview of what is to come!
When the visitor finally makes his way through the path of Arik’s larger-than-life creation, he finds himself confronted with - but in control of - this huge shape in space.