There seems to be a lot of energy in the world of sound/visual installations these days. I’ve just recently been on a tour of Illustrious studios, which is run by Martyn Ware of The Human League fame. They have been designing “3D soundscapes” for 14 years, and a lot of the time interact with visual installations to create immersive experiences, such as this one in Copenhagen.
Just today I found out about this and might pop down today or tomorrow. I’d heard the name Imogen Heap but hadn’t payed much attention before, I definitely will be from now on, and will hopefully get to hear/see her magic musical gloves someday soon. Leafcutter John is supporting her performance in the Roundhouse tonight, following the current trend of gestural instrument-making, but designing one with specifically responds to light.
In June I went to a joint Institute of Acoustics/Society of Light and Lighting conference called Casting Light on Sound. The general premise of the day was to explore the ways in which professionals in both disciplines, or artists in neither, can use the interaction between light and sound to their advantage.
Some really interesting design projects were showcased. Arup lighting/sound engineers talked about an installation which switched the usual process of design lighting for sound (for instance in concert visuals) and instead composed a piece which took the spectral content of different light sources and used it as a basis for the sound design.
United Visual Artists (UVA) are a design consultancy based in London, who have transformed some amazing spaces in the city and around the world. I wish I’d seen their installation at the Barbican Curve Gallery, or this one at the Serptentine Pavilion. Definitely going to keep an eye on these guys.
On a work-related level the day was inspiring, because as an acoustic engineer, I almost never consider the lighting design of a building past where I can’t put absorption (i.e. not in front of the lamps). Equally lighting engineers rarely come to us to discuss how my absorption might block/shade/reflect their design. I thought it would be interesting to spend more time on projects designing an integrated system where modulated, decorative acoustic panels such as these could be formed around the lighting design to refract and spread/focus the light into certain areas, something a bit more interesting to look at than this.
A bit of random weirdness thrown in – a psychology lecturer from City University also spoke about hearing-motion synaesthesia, and showed us this video – if you can hear something while watching it, like a whoosing or modulating tone, you’ve got it apparently.