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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.

Please note that all the elements seen on the video were only experiments and the sound recording quality is not great. We are looking forward to developing the full installation next year, taking what we have learnt so far to create A sense of Wonder.

Barbican Open Lab Residency – Exploring Visual and Sound Effects from Limbic Productions on Vimeo.