Processing, Sound
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interference [dac] – Cross medium light wave distortions

Created by Technical Earth (Mo H. Zareei + Jim Murphy), interference [dac] is an audiovisual installation that explores the combination and interaction of waveforms in one medium with those of another. In the installation, which includes a linear array of four miniature projectors  affixed to loudspeaker cones, sound waves affect light waves while analogue elements alter digital ones.

The projectors are configured to output a series of abstract lines and patterns that are inspired by Thomas Young’s interference experiment which led to the wave theory of light. The projected patterns are blurred and disrupted as the projectors are rattled and trembled by the movement of the loudspeaker cones. This motion results in visual distortions that occur at audio rates, which are significantly faster than any available digital refresh-rate. Therefore, those experiencing interference [dac] perceive the images being processed in a manner impossible to achieve with digital techniques alone, and are immersed in a sensory-blurring audiovisual experience. In this way, interference [dac] explores the concept of wave interference, not only as a physical phenomenon, but also through the intermingling of different mediums as well as disparate modes of communication.

Four miniature projectors are mounted on each speaker cone from the ‘off the shelf’ car subwoofer. The loudspeakers are in turn mounted on four plinths, allowing the projectors to cast their light onto the wall in front of them. The audio component of the piece, which consists of simple waveforms and digital clicks, is emitted from the loudspeakers (as well as two auxiliary subwoofers). The audio is generated using Ableton Live’s Operator instrument and various MIDI effects, and a number of autonomous functionalities are incorporated into Ableton’s Session view using ClyphX. The visuals are generated using Processing, and the communicated between the audio and video is achieved through MIDI messages, using the MidiBus library: a “dummy” MIDI track in Ableton is dedicated to send cues to Processing in order to synchronise the sound and images as the piece develops. Each loudspeaker receives its audio input from a unique dedicated track in Ableton. An HDMI splitter is used to send the Processing output to the four mini projectors.

The work was realised as a public installation as a part of the Wellington Lux Festival. The installation was on exhibit 12-21 May 2017 10 on Lower Cuba St., Wellington, New Zealand.
The prototype of the work (below) was developed and documented at Victoria University of Wellington in 2016.

Project PageTechnical Earth