Aug 22 - Sep 09 2016

Visual + Media Arts
August 15 - September 9, 2016
John Hartell Gallery, Sibley Dome
Reception: Friday, September 2; 5:00pm

Polyphony is an interactive audio-visual installation that generates a simultaneous feedback loop between performance, image, and sound. Two juxtaposing systems are designed for Polyphony. One system focuses on dematerializing a medium through cymatics. The viewer can use motions to disturb a field of voxels that abstractly mimic water behaviors. The visual disturbances and vibrations caused by motions distort existing musical tones through altering their frequency and amplitude. The second system takes a more bottom-up approach, incorporating a multi-agent swarm system where the viewer's motions create target points for a group of agents to interact with. The visual results map the interactions between the target and agent points, generating complex and mysterious sounds.

The two interactive systems are both open-ended, allowing people to devise their own unique experiences and possibilities. Kinect sensors are set up in front of the projectors at Hartell Gallery to detect people's body pixels using motion detection. The information collected by Kinect become inputs for two sets of designed algorithms in Processing and Supercollider, generating simultaneous graphical and audio responses through an audiovisual feedback loop. The project aims to address the issue of collective movement within public space by inviting visitors into it, transforming the installation space into a dynamic performance platform, and instigating social interaction. Through actions and response, the viewer can produce infinitely variable graphical and auditory qualities that are both experimental and stimulating. Overall, Polyphony challenges the visitor's psycho-physical intuition about the physical space and blurs the boundaries between different forms of media through human-technology interactivity.

This project is conceived of by Liu Jingyang (M.Arch. '15), Shining (Christina) Sun (B.Arch. '17), and Yue Gu (M.Arch. '16), architecture students who are interested in exploring interactive media and reactive systems based on designed algorithms. Jingyang is a research associate and teaching associate at AAP, specializing in robotic fabrication and computational design. Since graduating from the AAP M.Arch. program in 2015, Jingyang has also been working on various design projects in the Sabin Design Lab. Sun has been involved in exhibition curation, art installation design, music composition, and pavilion design. She is also the design director of Studio LT, an architecture firm based in Boston and Shanghai. Through working at OMA, AECOM, and Aedas in the past, Sun has gained professional experiences in both urban planning and architectural projects. Gu recently graduated from the M.Arch. program and is now a junior architect at RAMSA with a great deal of work experience and knowledge in large-scale construction and facade design.