alphalux

co-producer & lighting designer

an interactive light and sound installation

 

 

 

 

 

 

Research

Inspiration & Brainstorm

In the early process of this project, my co-producer (who is also the sound designer) and I talk a lot about the relationship of tangible and intangible object. How could we allow our audience to interact with sound and light in a huge empty black box theater? What should we put in there? Visually, how do we direct audience's gaze? We end up with the answer - FABRIC. We find it a perfect media for shaping the space (play area for audience) and allowing light to transmit. 

We were also addicted to this idea PLAY. We wanted to design this installation like a GAME that the audience can discover, explore, and have fun. We wanted to encourage people from all disciplines, not only artists and designers but also the general public, to be able to play, interact, and experience with the installation. So, we develop some rules for this game.

develop

We wanted to separate the space into different areas, and each area is assigned with its own sound and light. When people walk into each area, they would trigger the sound or light assigned to that area. This sketch is a early prototype of the installation . 

 
PROTOTYPE SKETCH_CROP.jpg
 

I had an idea to divide the space into a grid and let each square represent a music note. While audience move around in the space, they create a live interactive composition through their own bodies. 

Technology

We thought a lot about how we could let audience trigger something. Pressing a button? Infrared? Wearing a GPS device? Or make an app and let them download on their phone? Our solution was to use camera and video. We spent a lot of time exploring Kinect and MAX. We later denied using Kinect because we found Kinect is more of a front-facing device. For our project, we find a overhead camera would work better. If we hang a Kinect over head from the grid, the camera is too far from the subject, and it would not be able to cover a large area as the picture on the right shown here. 

 
                           exploring Kinect in a motion capture studio

                           exploring Kinect in a motion capture studio

                                             the overhead grid

                                             the overhead grid

 

We decided to use an analog video surveillance camera which is attached to the grid. As shown below, the camera is able to capture the entire space that audience is going to interact. It detects movement by comparing each frame it captures to the previous frame. If there is enough change in the frame that exceeds the threshold, it will trigger the sound. 

screenshot of the MAX patch

screenshot of the MAX patch

Drawing area map from the image captured from camera

Drawing area map from the image captured from camera