Notes on an installation

Hey! It's me!

So we pretty much put an installation on yesterday, as part of RWCMD's Open House Day & 60th Birthday celebrations. It was super-rad, and anyone who missed it really should take a long hard look at themselves.

...but wait! By expedient chance, latecomers and the infirm have an opportunity to watch the following short video, which gives one the opportunity to experience the performance as if one had really been there! And all at no extra cost to the viewer!

Here it is: 'Bored Meeting'..

The idea was to recreate the quasi-hallucinatory dream state that the human mind often chooses to occupy during particularly long and tedious meetings. We've all been there I'm sure: it's where we are when we doodle on our expensive-looking jotters, or look out of the window, or try to see how many staplers we can fit up one nostril without the boss noticing.

(...more after the break...)

The 'base' of the sound-world was made out of four simple loops: three of these being the videos you can see playing on the white iMacs in the youtube clip above. They were supposed to represent an abortive attempt at video-conferencing, with agents in Tokyo, Madrid and  San Francisco becoming increasingly confused and annoyed at the fact their connections weren't working properly. To learn more about these videos, and see them away from the context of the installation as a whole, please click here.

The fourth loop was the voice of Sir Alan Pig, the chairman sat at the head of the table. Made up from a series of banal cliches and a whole lot of 'blah', this loop was played back through a PureData patch which randomised the settings of a reverb, a volume control and a band-pass filter in order to effect a dream-like, unconscious feel.

Over the top of these loops, the sounds made by the performers - bored office-workers going slowly out of their minds - were amplified by two AKG 414 condenser microphones placed beneath the desks. Each mic fed into the Pd patch, and I, sat at my laptop, was able to control pitchshift, delay, reverb and a BPF on each signal, and in real-time. In addition to this, if a particularly loud noise was picked up, Pd would bang out a midi note that would then be received by Logic. One mic set off a glockenspiel sound, and the other a harp, both playing in F minor.

The mics' sensitivity was determined by a simple auto-gain that I had built into the patch: this meant that, not only could they cope with performers making noise at a variety of levels, but I could also leave the patch running in the room when we weren't there - letting the installation 'play itself' during the times between performances.

Thanks to anyone who came and saw us, and obviously thank you to my sexy performers as well: Dewi Jones, Mike Johnson, Abby Foulkes and Max Pownall who were there live, and Sophie Tilley, Matt McDade and Jack Melham who appeared via video. I had some good feedback off a few people who saw it, and am now thinking on how to take the idea further...

Here are some photos of the room (click to embiggen):

Right, I'm off to watch Ziggy strut his stuff in Generation Kill. Also: the Memory Tapes album is amazing. That's me reviewing stuff now. Laters!

No comments:

Post a Comment