Tuesday, 10 July 2007

MA Project ideas and testing

My original idea was to create an instrument that would be controlled by users movements in a space. The instrument would create sounds and corresponding ambient imagery.

In the discussion last week it became clear that it would be difficult to do something that hadn’t been done before. Also that the installations of this nature that have the biggest effect, are those that engage the user on an emotional level as well as just a cerebral one. This is something I have found from both personal experience and from previous research and so I fully agreed. I still want to incorporate some of my original ideas. Being, to incorporate the body within a space, using both sound and imagery to create a more immersive environment and hopefully explore the relationship between user perception and the two forms.

Since the discussion last week I have been thinking about how to gain a more emotional engagement with users. I have been researching previous works on the net most of which can be found in my delicious links below.

After lots of brainstorming sketching and day dreaming I have developed two ideas.

The first:

A single screen projection that places moving images on to the on-screen presence of the user. The closer the user gets or the more surface created by the user, the more of the image will be shown. Allowing them to explore the image using their body.

The images will be quite ambiguous and the main idea being that the sound content will react to the users movements. The more of the picture they reveal, the more of the levels of the soundscape will be heard. As the more levels come in, the soundtrack will change in mood and in turn hopefully change the users perception of the image.

The images will change over time so I can experiment with different moods and relationships between the sound and imagery. I think the more ambiguous the imagery, the more that user can ‘project’ on to it and bring their own imaginations too, hopefully being influenced by the soundtrack.

I have done some preliminary testing using a bed sheet, an i-sight camera and real time video manipulation software ‘Isadora’. I found it very playful and with the right images could be a nice experience in itself.

Here are some pictures.

The Second:

A more personal approach based my own emotional responses to a certain recent events.

A dual screen projection, on opposite sides of a small dark room.
The basic idea being to use the same image on both screens and use music to create a different perception of the moving image.
As the user turns around to face a screen the music changes accordingly.

Some of the things I want to reflect are the feeling of isolation the inability to change a developing course and also a sudden change of everything you thought you knew.

An image I have in mind is a tunnel, a looping clip going further and further in with a distant light at the end.
The music will hopefully convey whether you are going further in or whether you are getting further out.

I am then thinking that if the user stays looking at one screen for enough time then an ending will play out. A rough idea is that.
The bad ending will be that the tunnel fills up with water or starts to crumble, the screen behind them will also change and hopefully make the user feel trapped, all the time the music getting more chilling and louder to a climax where the room will suddenly go dark.
The happy ending will be that the tunnel reaches the end and the both screens fill with brightly coloured euphoric imagery and the music will getting louder and be as euphoric and colourful as the imagery.

I like both ideas or I at least think they perhaps have potential, but need some guidance in the tutorial tomorrow. I think that the first idea has a more playful nature and would enable me to explore the relationship between sound, imagery and user perception. The second idea, if done well might gain more of an emotional response. I understand that they are both probably single user experiences, but I think that in itself works with each concept.

Any thoughts or comments, please let me know.

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