Gestation: Project Details

". . .the art work . . . is no longer a static object or a pre-defined multiple choice interaction but has become a process-like living system."
Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignonneau Art as a Living System 1998

 

1.0        SUMMARY

Interactivity has become a major consideration in the development of a contemporary art practice that engages with the proliferation of computer based technologies. 

Computer based technologies have created a revolution in the fields of animation and image generation as well as sound art and music composition.  The computer has opened up a whole new genre where primary composition material can be drawn from any source, and once digitised, becomes a fluid and viscous medium.

Garth Paine’s interest lies in placing the exploration of the potential of these technologies within an organic and human framework.  His installation work has focused on creating immersive environments that respond to the movement and behaviour patterns detected within them.  The body becomes the controller.  The organic process of human exploration, cognition and response, becomes the central influence in defining the output of the interactive process.Gestation represents a crucial development in the responsive environment works of Garth Paine.  Following on from Moments of a Quiet Mind (Linden Gallery), Ghost in the Machine  (Linden Gallery), MAP1 (Next Wave Festival, Span Gallery), MAP2 (SIM Berlin).  Gestation has been in development since 1999, and was a major focus of Garth Paine’s work during his Australia council for the Arts, New Media Arts Fellowship at RMIT in 2000. Gestation will be an interactive responsive environment due for exhibition at RMIT Gallery, Melbourne, 10-21 December. It will occupy two integrated galleries. One gallery will contain a surround sound field generated in real time using video sensing equipment (visible to visitors only as a small security video camera in the middle of the roof) that maps the behaviour and movement patterns of the visitors to the exhibition on to real-time audio algorithms providing a tight gestural relationship with their movement and behaviour patterns. No pre-recorded material will be used in the generation of the sounds.In the second gallery, a large projected image (see enclosed working image) will represent the development of new human life in response to the activity in the first gallery. Imagery will represent a sea of life forming cells. An added layer to the underlying sea will be the development of new foetuses. Each foetus will start to grow at the point at which the greatest activity is sensed in the first gallery.Garth Paine has been developing this project for a number of years, and more intensely over the last two years.  Funding is being sought to facilitate an intensely focused development period for the month prior to the RMIT Gallery exhibition in December 2001. A considerable amount of work has already been done in the areas of the sound synthesis algorithms and video sensing software development.  The work has been in development on a part time basis in between other projects.  The project will be lifted to a much more complete and sophisticated level with funding assistance providing a secured period of focus in the month prior to exhibition.

some sound and Video examples

an interview on 3RRR, Melbourne

Screen Shots of the Animation

An Interview by Daniel Palmer, Published in REALTIME

 

1.2       SYNOPSIS

"In the environment, the participant is confronted with a completely new kind of experience.  He is stripped of his informed expectations and forced to deal with the moment in its own terms.  He is actively involved, discovering that his limbs have been given new meaning and that he can express himself in new ways.  He does not simply admire the work of the artist; he shares in its creation."


Myron W Krueger Responsive Environments 1977

 

Gestation will be an interactive responsive environment. It will contain two integrated spaces. One gallery will contain a surround sound field generated in real time using video sensing equipment (visible to visitors only as a small security video camera in the middle of the roof) that maps the behaviour and movement patterns of the visitors to the exhibition on to real-time audio algorithms providing a tight gestural relationship with their movement and behaviour patterns. No pre-recorded material will be used in the generation of the sounds.In the second gallery, a large projected image (see enclosed working image) will represent the development of new human life in response to the activity in the first gallery. Imagery will represent a sea of life forming cells. An added layer to the underlying sea will be the development of new foetuses. Each foetus will start to grow at the point at which the greatest activity is sensed in the first gallery.The aesthetic of the sound environment will be a carefully tended intimately textured sound. It will create a viscous, fluid environment for the “making of life”.  The qualities of this sound will change in relation to the direction, speed of movement and number of people within the space. In addition to the underscore sound, more contained points of interest will be tied to the creation of each new foetus, and will be associated with the position within the gallery space at which that activity is sensed. The growth sounds will express the qualities of life forming: the binding of cells, the development of human form, and the growth of the foetus.
Over the last five years I have collected ultra-sound videos from friends and acquaintances that have had children. These videos will form the basis of the moving images contained within the cells. The cells will begin growth at a point in the two-dimensional grid associated with the sensed movement in Gallery Two. The threshold of sensed activity will also determine the rate of growth. Varying rates of growth will be associated with thresholds of activity. The system will examine activity in Gallery Three on a varying time basis (randomly selected times set by the threshold activity of the previous incident). A snapshot of Gallery Three will be taken at these time intervals. The snapshot will be analysed to determine the point of highest activity.  Growth of the foetus will begin at this point.
Participants in Gallery Three (the sound gallery) will not be able to see the visual element without leaving the gallery space. They can make life, but not observe it at the same time. The relationship between Galleries Two and Three at the RMIT Gallery is perfect for this exhibition. Gallery Three is a relatively enclosed space in which the sound will be installed: Gallery Two, which is open on one side allows the projector to be set well back, creating a large image, and allowing people easilly access to the evolving imagery.
Gallery visitors can easily pop out of Gallery Three and correlate the activity patterns they have just engaged in with the most recent variations in the gestation images.
The two galleries are detach to illustrate the hidden outcomes of our activities.  This approach also allows the visitors to be more deeply engaged in the details of the sound environment, in the hope that they will more consciously engage with the fluidity and variability of the sounds.

 


1.2       Technical Specification

The moving images will be developed using videos of Ultra-Sound examinations of pregnant woman, which have been collected by Garth Paine over the last few years.  These moving foetus images will be digitised and placed within a varying background that will suggest the Ultra-Sound aesthetic (see working image).  The imagery will be constructed using Macromedia Director.  The position, and growth patterns of the foetuses will be controlled using MIDI communication from the sound and video sensing computer.

The video sensing of activity within the sounding gallery will be achieved using the Very Nervous System (VNS) and a single CCT video camera in the roof of the gallery.  The VNS is a self-contained digital signal processor that is controlled from a Macintosh computer over a SCSI connection. Software to analyze the VNS data is written in Cycling74's MAX environment.  The output of this software (an integer array: one number per defined region) will be sent as MIDI information to a Symbolic Sound, Capybara/Kyma sound synthesis system, which is a high-end audio DSP/synthesis device.  The sound from the Capybara will be dispersed into the gallery in four channels.
Garth Paine has used the VNS sensing system since 1996.  He has developed a number of innovative approaches to the use of this video sensing equipment.  Previous examples of his use of this system, combined with realtime sound synthesis can be seen in his installation pieces MAP1 and MAP2.

 

 

1.3       Personnel

Garth Paine is the principle artist for Gestation.  The piece is a development of work he undertook while the Australia Council for the Arts, New Media Arts Fellow at RMIT University in 2000.  Garth Paine has a long history of developing responsive environment installation works of this kind, on this scale.  He will be responsible for the concept, and the development of the software, the video sensing system, sound synthesis and video/animation control.
Garth Paine is a freelance composer, sound designer and installation artist. He has been commissioned extensively in Australia the United Kingdom and Germany, producing original compositions and sound designs for over 30 film, theater, dance and installation works in the last ten years.

In 1999 Garth Paine was composer in residence at the Staatliches Institut für Musikforschung (State Institute for Music Research - SIM) in Berlin, exhibiting his installation MAP1 in the Musical Instrument museum, Berlin during the residency. He was commissioned by SIM to produce MAP2, which was exhibited at the Museum for Musical Instruments, Berlin from December 30, 1999 to January 8, 2000. His installation work REEDS was presented by the Melbourne International Festival, 2000.

His most recent works include the score for the Belvoir Company B production of the Laramie Project, which opened in Sydney in March 2001; Company in Space’s Incarnate, a telepresence performance between Melbourne and Hong Kong in March 2001. His installation work MAP1 was exhibited at the CIRCUS conference in Glasgow in September 2001, and his work Codex was toured through the UK by the London based Random Dance Company in early 2001. He has been commissioned by the Melbourne International Festival to write a work for the Federation Bells, which will be launched at the 2001 festival. Garth Paine has also exhibited responsive environment installations in 2001 in Melbourne, Sydney, and Hobart, and at the Australasian Computer Music Conference.

Garth was awarded the RMIT, New Media Arts fellowship by the Australia Council for the Arts for 2000. In recent years Garth's work has become increasingly involved with the design of sound and interactive exhibitions in museums and galleries. These include the Melbourne Exhibition, the East Super Space and the Immigration Museum for the Museum of Victoria, the Australian Jewish Museum, the Performing Arts Museum, and the Eureka Stockade Centre.

 

Kathryn Mew developed the Macromedia Director application for Gestation. Kathryn is an experienced graphic designer, animator and Director developer. She developed the working image (See the Working Image), and has been involved for some time in the project development.

 

  Produced with the assistance of Cinemedia's Digital Media Fund - The Digital Media Fund is funded by Multimedia Victoria as part of the Victorian Government's Connecting Victoria policy, which aims to bring the benefits of technology to all Victorians.