The garden of forking paths

Reactive navigable binaural audio environment for one listener with wireless headphones.

November 2012, Sala del Buonumore, Conservatory L. Cherubini, Florence.

The webcam
The webcam

Here a detail of the webcam used to track the movement of the listener in this installation.

The wireless headphones
The wireless headphones

The wireless headphones with the two LED lights to allow the tracking of head's position in space and its rotation.

Sala del buonumore
Sala del buonumore

The hall in the conservatory of Florence where the demonstration of the system took place.

The webcam
The webcam

Here a detail of the webcam used to track the movement of the listener in this installation.

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Demonstration of the system at work

Description

This project, that constituted my final MA thesis, stemmed from the desire to investigate the relationship between listener and his listening point, within an ecosystemic sound world. With the term “world” it shares the appearance of openness to the exploring viewer and with “ecosystem” the aspect of being a multitude of interrelated and reacting life forms behaving as a whole.

The concept was to create a system that, on the one hand gives the possibility to navigate a space where pre-arranged sound events occur and that, at the same time, would react differently to each particular mode of inspection. What interested me was ultimately to create a device that could give life to a responsive sound world that would be consistent primarily from a musical point of view and that would suggest and give access to a mode of listening to “reproduced” music where linearity is not the only listening feature. Exploring the sonic space defines the listener's own access to the world, and the conjunction between his position and his behavior determines a specific states of "possibility" in the system.

 

The "piece" is therefore a navigable sonic territory that the same exploratory act of the listener changes and makes react. The sound of the ecosystem and the listener are two inseparable entities, resulting in a series of reciprocal interaction events, that could be represented as a sort of narrative development with forks and deviations.

Each visit is the result of the specific encounter between the author's compositional activity that structures a world of possible relationships and lets them happen, and the re-compositional activity of the listener that reconstructs a unique path within the vast network of potential connections.

Gallery

Main Patch
Main Patch

The outlook of the main patch of the system with the model of the space, the position of the sound sources and the relative position of the listener's head.

The score
The score

The score with two windows, one for linear events and the second one for eventualities and non linear events.

the message dispatcher
the message dispatcher
Field of view
Field of view

A small system to calculate the size of the field of view from the position of the camera and its frame rate.

Field of view (presentation)
Field of view (presentation)
head tracking patch
head tracking patch

The patch to follow the position of the listener in space and its rotation.

Light tracking
Light tracking

A demonstration of the light tracking system.

head rotation
head rotation

The system to get the head rotation angle from the position of the two LEDs

Room designer
Room designer

A way to adapt the system's response to an actual space.