Enjoying Synaesthesia With Music Composed In VR

Enjoying Synaesthesia With Music Composed In VR
September 17, 2016
Synaesthesia and abandonment form the basis of a new digital art installation called Collide, created by design studio onformative. To convey these sensations, the studio took recorded motion data and tranformed it into surreal animations and audio. For the visuals, they searched through archival motion data from various dance genres and turned the movements into colors and forms, abstracting them from their usual spatial constraints.

The audio was supplied by three cello players who used virtual reality as a tool to compose their score. VR goggles allowed onformative to immerse the cello players in the surreal animations and visuals that had been created from the dance motion data. The cellists followed an open composition already created by the sound designers and used the visuals to feed into it. The resulting sound was recorded and used in the final installation.

"By separating the visual and acoustic realities of the musicians, they were isolated in different visual worlds while playing in the same physical room," explains onformative. "Visually the musicians were separated by the format of the animations, yet they were connected by the collective sound audible in the room in that moment to create a new and innovative format for compositional performance."

The resulting piece is displayed on a 62-foot digital ribbon screen at Dolby Laboratories in San Francisco. "The innovative visual language of the piece reflects the human experience of one’s physical form moving through space," note the designers. "The visual material could be understood as the shifting of molecules on an atomic level as a person uses their body. Visualizing this tangible experience provides an introspective lens through which viewers can relate to the installation from a corporal perspective."

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