WORKS / sig.int
Places: SAT Montréal
Technology: ambisonic, cubemapping
Role: designer, programmer, composer, performer
Curator: SAT Montréal + ELEKTRA
John Chowning, researcher & composer, especially known for his work on frequency modulation sound synthesis algorithm, expressed the necessity of including and considering the proper space where the music will be spread as a very early part of the composition itself. He wrote : « we sense the space ».
sig.int is an audiovisual live performance exploring different sound synthesis contexts, sound visualization and which uses the spherical environment and multi-channels as one of the core of the synthesis of sound itself.
sig.int is based on the use of hardware modular synthesizer as the unique raw source of sound. The piece evolves all along different contexts involving a maximum of 5 sound module which are analyzed in real-time by a computer and spatialized (placed in the space) using ambisonic algorithms. The space itself is used as a modulator. Indeed, making a sound rotating produce an amplitude modulation (AM) like effect and for instance, ring-modulation classical effect uses the space as a modulator too instead of the time as we can test within usual synthesizers. This live performance then makes new space effects, frequency modulation, granulation process emerging from the room & environment.
sig.int also exposes a real-time visualisation of sound fields, showing their modulations and alterations all along the performance. Visual aesthetics go through different parts, from spherical contexts to more parallel ones, from well structured to more chaotic ones, sig.int immerse audience into complex minimal & radically kind-of brutalist structures providing a real immersion where the visual stimulus is not only a basic illustration but a real sound visualization.
sig.int’s core system analyzes all signals coming from the modular synthesizer. sig.int is the abbreviation of « signal integration », which relates to the mathematical integration, sum of signals especially. It is also a reference to sigint NSA’s program, revealed by Edward Snowden, which uses the air as a support for capturing electro-magnetic waves through more or less short distances. sig.int can be considered as a system permanently analyzing signal as NSA’s one but not organizing them as a database but transcoding them into an audio-visual art piece.
sig.int is driven by the artist who only act on the modular synthesize, source of all signals. This system generates raw sound material but this is the computer system previously programmed by the artist which analyzes, spatializes, modulates the sound by making it rotating withing the SAT’s dome, or delaying it differentially according to the different part of the space. This is also another artistic proposition addressing the idea of humans facing programmed systems and the illusion of control. Is the artist, his raw material or the programmed system which is at the very core of sig.int ? Or is the core the integration of both of them ? Does the technology (system) constrain the creator (human) or the opposite ?
Art-Facto french interview related to the project: http://art-facto.today/julien-bayle
SPECIAL THANKS to Maxence Mercier for his precious help about cubemap technique + dome projection in Max !