VIX Sound+Light+Motion

1. IEI – Inspiration

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The concept of the Immersive Environment Instrument (IEI) developed from attending a lot of shows and researching more on the internet. My primary influences are my friends Pauline Oliveros, electro-acoustic composer and improvising performer, and Trimpin, imaginative instrument builder and composer.

The work that Trimpin does is delightfully fresh because he is able to combine existing technologies as a master recycler and create new and interesting forms. The IEI also combines existing technologies and adds a few innovative gagets to produce a performance environment that is part installation and part virtual reality.

Many of the elements of the IEI have been used in performance before as the idea of surround sound has been in use since the introduction by Stockhausen. The idea of surround video has been used by a collective, Workspace Unlimited, among others. Their example, Hybrid Space 360, is really interesting because it has already been presented at EMPAC – Experimental Media and performing arts Center Rensselaer in New York, 2008. There are photos on their site, but as it in Flash, you have to navigate yourself, click on projects to view the data.

This circular screen image is similar to the concept of the IEI, except I expect to have a seated audience and I will be satisfied with 240 degrees or so of video surround. I will also construct raised platforms at various stations around the circle, similar to the stations Laurie Anderson used in her 2010 production, Delusion. There were three stations and individual three dimensional screens for the other two musicians,  shown here preparing for the encore in Vancouver. I did take the photos before they started to play. The large background was also a screen that was split sometimes to be very effective.

Pauline Oliveros has used surround sound for decades and my experience documenting, producing video, listening and recording with her has been invaluable to my development as an artist. We have been involved in three projects together and I look forward to further collaborations.

For information on the technical details of surround sound see this Wikipedia article. Basically, the speakers surround the audience to create the illusion of motion due to the transfer of audio material in space by sending it from one speaker to another. Most people have experienced this effect in film theatres. Surround sound gives a cinematic quality to performance.

This year, Paul Plimley and I have achieved a surround sound recording environment in his studio and we are working toward producing companion images so we can release a DVD.

Unfortunately, most arts support bodies do not yet have surround sound capability and much of the artistic intent is lost without the motion of the audio. I will have to mix all of the audio into a stereo image to be heard.

Once Paul and I have have a DVD ready for release by our duo, You Are Here (YAH), then it will be viewed in home theatres and short film festivals with surround capabilities. We are moving away from producing and performing audio in stereo and planning to use 5.1 exclusively.

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