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DARC Revo:oveR opens at Taubman
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DARC Revo:oveR opens at Taubman
Jan 9th, 2009, 10:55pm
 
On November 7th, Roanoke's Taubman Museum of Art opened and with it the DARC Revo:oveR exhibit. Almost two years in the making, this collection of six related works is a result of a collaboration among six VT faculty artists. My contributions have found way into three pieces:
 
ELEMENTAL
Elemental functions both as a standalone artwork and as a unifying aural component of the Revo-Over installation. Occupying entire exhibit space, the piece utilizes equidistantly spaced 4x3 speaker array suspended from the ceiling. Using an infra-red (IR) spotlights and IR camera the installation captures visitors’ traversal throughout the room and accompanies their motion with sounds of water ripples. The resulting aural landscape portrays a soothing image of navigating a calm waist-deep body of water. Apart from the fact that visitors’ motion generates no tactile feedback commonly associated with water, the surreal is further amplified by the aural cues that emanate above, rather than from below. As ripples propagate throughout the space, they are affected by the physical forces that define the world around us, refracting from the walls and slowly dissolving until all of their kinetic energy is drained. Occasionally, ripples clash against each other spawning a flurry of ever-changing sonorities, thus marking spots where visitors’ paths may already have or are about to cross, or where an individual has caught-up with the wave they generated only a moment ago. The ensuing aural fabric serves as a foundation for an ever-changing soundscape whose structure depends entirely upon visitors’ actions and interactions. From a technical perspective, this piece utilizes the "mu" toolkit (public release is currently pending) that allows easy integration of Max/MSP/Jitter and Unity3D.
 
CYRENE REEFS (two installations)
Cyrene Reefs is devised in collaboration with a conceptual artist Eric Standley (VT) and can be seen as a pair of ornate musical instruments or sculptural metaphors of instruments that draw inspiration from the mythical story of sirens. While at the first sight the installations offer a relatively simple form of interaction, just like any other musical instrument their full potential (akin to virtuosity of playing a musical instrument) can be uncovered only through closer inspection.
 
The first sculpture is populated by three arm-sized holes that can be explored by inserting hands and consequently offer audio-visual feedback building upon the metaphor of elements, namely fire, water, and air. The interaction with the ensuing sound is also accompanied by visual feedback in a form of an ever-changing organic shape populating the projection dome whose properties are affected by the aforesaid elements. The sounds of the elements that grow as the hand is inserted deeper into respective holes are accompanied by a seductive ever-changing melody whose range and loudness grows proportionally to the concurrent presence of the three elements.
 
The second sculpture is populated by five smaller holes that can be explored by inserting hands offer unique audio-visual feedback building upon the metaphor of elements established in the first sculpture, in this case the element of earth. The interaction with the ensuing sound is also accompanied by the visual feedback in a form of distorting camera projection found on both sides of the sculpture. Just like the first instrument, only through virtuosity and persistence does the sculpture disclose all of its aural and visual secrets.
 
From a visual perspective, the two sides of the second sculpture are populated by infrared (IR) cameras that project their respective images on opposite sides of the sculpture, suggesting that one can see directly through the large circular openings found on each side of the artifact. Inside this “transparent” space resides a tiny iBot (eye-bot) that is capable of observing nearby visitors, often by uncomfortably staring at them for prolonged periods of time. In the event there are visitors on both sides of the artifact, the iBot will often shift its attention from one side to the other as it sees fit, encouraging observers to seek its undivided attention. This sole “living organism” of the cyrene reefs stands as its endemic protector, while its seemingly simple behavior serves as a catalyst for spawning many different interpretations in visitors’ minds regarding its role and function within this virtual "techosystem."
 
The exhibit has received coverage through VT and regional news outlets. Below are a few I recently stumbled across:
http://www.wsls.com/sls/news/local/article/virginia_tech_faculty_and_students_cr eate_an_exhibition_for_the_taubman_mus/20786/
http://www.vtnews.vt.edu/story.php?relyear=2008&itemno=696
http://www.roanoke.com/news/nrv/vtnews/wb/180969
http://www.swvaonline.org/content/view/207/103/
http://www.clahs.vt.edu/pdf/News2Note_December.pdf
http://valleyarts.org/blog/?p=1677
 
As the luck would have it, our photo also made it to the museum's front page:
 

 
YouTube also has a few videos pertaining to the project:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GP3FHSRNH40
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pt0uiJgY94g
 
Finally, for the DARC blog covering creation of the work please visit:
http://digitalartresearchcollective.blogspot.com/
 
The show is on display until March 2009.
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