Lens through a Stereogram

Lens through a Stereogram

We were asked to present Lens through a Stereogram as part of the Exploratorium at PLASA 2016. Working in collaboration with audio visual and sound companies that sponsored us their prime equipment, the installation explored different concepts around visual and auditory perception.

As we were researching into how sound and visual perception changes in dementia, the subject matter very influenced our ideas. Lens through a Stereogram thus also acted as research process for which we could create pieces that could be included or further developed for our more ambitious installation A sense of Wonder.

Ideas we explored for the pieces included

Mirror Interface

The Mirror Interface explores the notion of the self and how people with dementia might not recognise themselves when looking in the mirror.
Filming participants, the moving image runs through a programme that slowly distorts it, before being relayed back onto several LED screens that acts as the mirror interface. Images are further fragmented by randomly changing from 1 to 2 to 3 images per screen.

Spatial Awareness

People with dementia often have problems with their spatial awareness. There’s been interesting studies indicating that problems in spatial awareness could be an early indicator of dementia. Recreating a couple of London Street scenes, projected over a corner participants are tracked by a kinect system that confuses their sense of location.

Podcast

The podcast sound piece takes its influence by a recent study that has found that people with Front Temporal Lobe dementia find an increased enjoyment and craving in listening to music. Many other studies have also shown how music can elevate the mood and also increase cognitive ability (if only for a moment) in people with dementia.
Merging this idea with the hypothesis that people with dementia often find increased difficulty in processing semantic sound (language), participants will experience the 3D audio piece, which they will listen to through binaural headphones, as both confusing yet also calmingly relaxing.

 

Environmental Sounds

Presenting ‘Lens through a Stereogram’ in a location that is naturally noisy, works well in correlation to the fact that environmental sounds especially when high pitched can be very distressing to people with dementia.
Recording and distorting the noisy environment at PLASA before playing it back through highly directional speakers will create a location in the art installation in which the sound perceived creates great discomfort to the listener.

Light box

The light explores how visual perception may influence the ability to read. Playing with placement, colour and a randomly flickering light the piece explores how: how words or letters often appear to move around or become superimposed over one another often creating a kind of shadow that makes it difficult to read the word; the difficulty in remembering what you have read before and as such reading the same text over and over again; the inability to decipher letters and words in the right order to form a coherent sentence.

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We thank the following organisations for supporting this project
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September 1st, 2017

Barbican Open Lab Residency – Exploring Visual and Sound Effects

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Barbican Open Lab Residency – Exploring Visual and Sound Effects

Early November 2016 we spent a week at the Barbican Pit Theatre as part of their Open Lab residency, where we played with different visual and sound effects to inform our research on developing A sense of Wonder.

A Sense of Wonder is the first in a series of art installation exploring how different forms of perception change with dementia.

One concept we explored was that of fragmentation. Designing two contrasting street
scenes, modelled by using 3D photogrammetry techniques, participants where tracked by a kinect to influence the scenes they were experiencing.

Placing mirrors on either side of the projection screens as well as creating a mirrored roof created a confusing effect to the onlooker as well as the person controlling the scene.

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To experiment with vision further we decided to look at well-known optic illusions such as the café wall illusion. The idea was to experiment on how to use visual perception to disorientate people.

Mirrors played an extremely important role again in extending the scenes created and we found added very much to the disorientation of the experience as well as bringing about a confusion of the self.bbkan day5_007

To experiment with sound we used contact microphones to relay the footsteps of the audience as well as FEONIC speakers to relay the sound.

We also placed conductive plastic onto glass windows that when touched created a wind sound. The sound played from FEONIC speakers placed on a raised stage placed under a light box a couple of meters away. As such as participants where trying to read the text on the light box, the activity became even harder than it was already as the haptic vibrations created by the FEONIC speakers randomly vibrated as people touched the conductive plastic on the glass window.

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Earlier in the year we created a podcast that speaks about sound perception in different forms of dementia which was recorded binaurally to create different sound effects associated to sound perception in dementia. During the residency we trialled how this would be perceived hearing it from the stereogram rather than as previously through headphones. To our surprise it felt better and more intimate hearing it out loud. This sound piece is being developed into a comprehensive radio piece integral to the overarching sound scape for A sense of Wonder.

You can listen to the first draft of the podcast below.

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Additional elements we played with included using an umbrella to create directional sound, playing with anamorphic illusions (2D images that look like 3D objects) and displaying texts accentuated by light and difficult to read due to the layout and play on colour coordination.

Losing one’s sense of self: exploring the effects of frontal lobe brain damage

Losing one’s sense of self

Losing one’s sense of self: exploring the effects of frontal lobe brain damage

What is our Sense of Self?

We define ourselves in different ways. Our outer self may be viewed in how we interact with the world around us, through our relationships with others and the roles we play in our personal lives and in our work. Our inner self is formed by our personality, our thoughts and emotions, views and beliefs.

An event, injury or disease that affects the frontal lobes of the brain can result in cognitive impairments. These changes can happen suddenly and may be life changing. Those with frontal lobe injury often report that their personality and social interactions have changed as a result of the injury. These changes are not well understood medically.

Project Aim

Losing one’s sense of self: exploring the effects of frontal lobe brain damage explores how frontal lobe damage affects a person’s sense of self. Affected individuals find the symptoms very distressing and struggle to communicate their difficulties effectively. Our approach will be to use art as a research tool to help participants to communicate their experience with the possibility of using the acquired knowledge to drive the direction of the medical research.

We are interested to learn how people that have been affected by frontal lobe injury feel the injury may have affected them; how it has changed the way that they relate to others or how others perceive them and how this might have changed their perception of themselves.

We aim to enable participants to communicate their individual experiences using artistic means. Throughout the study, we will guide participants through a series creative interview and group activity sessions that will allow them to express their personal perspectives through the use of object and image making.

The project team will review and interpret these outcomes to determine whether this process can:

  • Help affected individuals to communicate their experiences more effectively
  • Enhance the research team and health practitioners’ understanding of the symptoms of frontal lobe injury that are most important to affected individuals
  • Enhance the general public’s understanding of, and empathy for these individual
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    Key themes will be identified for dissemination to a wider audience. Using the materials created by the participants alongside pertinent scientific information from the (Finnerty, Bennett) lab, we will create an exhibition to be presented as part of a showcase planned by the Cultural Institute at King’s College London.

    Project Team

    Losing one’s sense of self: exploring the effects of frontal lobe brain damage is a collaboration between Ms Sophie Bennett and Dr Gerald Finnerty based at King’s College London’s Department of Basic & Clinical Neuroscience, Iris Musel of Limbic Productions and Isla Millar, brokered and supported by the Cultural Institute at King’s.

    More information can be found on the KCL website
    https://www.kcl.ac.uk/Cultural/-/Projects/Losing-ones-sense-of-self.aspx

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    August 30th, 2017

    I am still here – Maze Experience

    I am still here – Maze Experience

    The final art installation in the series takes the name of the overall project, as it merges the research and components created for the first three art installations by presenting them as a compilation of elements to be experienced navigating through a maze structure.

    The relevance of the maze design in ‘I am still here’ is that it adds a further focus on investigating how orientation and spatial awareness is affected in dementia. As the nature of the design will send participants walking into numerous directions, creating the possibility to experience the installation in various ways, it also touches on the notion that dementia is experienced differently by each person.

    As with the previous art installations, the maze will utilize interface technology, illusions, a game scenario, intricate design and sensory stimulation to alter participant’s states of perception.

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    August 2nd, 2016

    Soma-tic

    Perception is...

    Somatic

    Soma-tic starts taking a more intimate approach. Here we start focusing on the somatic senses and how these might be influenced in dementia.
    Exploring the somatic senses will include looking at the sense of touch; haptic perception; how we relate to our bodies and the immediate space that surrounds us; our ability to sense movement; and being able to distinguish temperature.

    In addition the installation will delve into how the sense of smell is often diminished in the early stages of dementia and how due to a change in taste sensitivity and flavours being forgotten a persons taste preference might all of a sudden differ.

    The set-up for Soma-tic will be kept to a small confined area (e.g. sitting in an armchair for the whole experience). Each participant thus experiences the installation one at a time, encouraged to very mindfully interact with subtle changes to their contained environment.

    August 2nd, 2016

    Mumble Jumble

    Mumble Jumble

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    Mumble Jumble focuses on the complexity of abstract and concrete thinking processes in people affected by dementia.

    The installation will reflect on the restrictions and boundaries people with dementia often face when every day activities all of a sudden become difficult to complete.

    What might seem structured and logical when first approached will soon be appreciated as a chaotic mess.

    With failing order, the installation will further delve into the realms of communication looking at the intricacy of language and numbers and how as the name suggests these can easily get muddled up in dementia.

    Mumble Jumble will be presented as a series of games. It will challenge participants to adopt a creative approach in attempting to obtain order and sense in a space filled with disarray.

    Where the installation may cause frustration, the aim is to still create a playful and humorous experience.

    August 2nd, 2016

    A sense of Wonder

    A sense of Wonder

    A sense of Wonder explores how the perception of vision and sound may change for people with dementia.

    A concept particularly interesting in relation to vision and sound is how its perception can often be either heightened or dampened in dementia. Amongst other topics the installation will look at how depth perception or the contrast in colours might influence how an object is perceived; or how the dysfunction in identifying the difference in tone, pitch or timbre, might influence the ability in knowing where a sound is located in space.

    A sense of Wonder will also draw attention to the fact that in some forms of dementia people experience hallucinations. With a negative stigma attached to hallucinations in relations to mental illness, we hope to open up conversations on the subject area that brings about a better understanding and acceptance.

    The installation will employ the trickery of illusions as well as a high level of interface technology to alter people’s state of perception. Wandering in a state of wonder, participants will be immersed in a space where they will be asked to interact with distinct art, video and sound pieces at their own chosen pace. How they navigate through the space will be central to the experience, as their placement and timing dictates their perception of the visual and sound cues presented to them.

     

    Perception is...

    August 2nd, 2016

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    I am still here

    Perception is...

     

    I am still here is a series of interactive art installations that investigate how the sense of perception, sense of the self and forms of expression may change in people affected by dementia.

    Besides experiencing memory loss, people with dementia often face a heightened or diminished change to their senses (incl. hallucination); have problems with abstract thinking (e.g. loss of language, spatial awareness, concept of time); experience loss in motor skills (e.g. balancing, co-ordination); and see their emotional state and personality shift.

    Not all people with dementia will experience all symptoms, but we are keen to explore the diversity of dysfunctions that can be associated with dementia as it progresses, including the fact that each person and their family will experience the condition differently.

    Each installation will be presented in a unique style of its own, focusing on specific themes that will lend us the opportunity to explore the mentioned subject areas in great detail.

    Our aim is to create engaging experiences by which participants can seek a broader understanding on dementia.

    Drawing Sound

    Drawing Sound

    Drawing Sound is an interface that uses a single contact microphone to turn an everyday surface such as a tabletop into a responsive and user-discoverable music device. The contact microphone responds to the user brushing (rubbing) and/or tapping the surface with their hand or other chosen tool. Dependant on several combinations the rub and tap control and trigger the musical parameters, transforming a library of sound clusters into a melodic soundscape.