Some Thought Part 2 (Some More Thoughts)

How do we perceive our environment through sound & how can we interpret that for an audience?


What is an audience?

As I had eluded to in my previous post I was getting rather sidetracked with the concept of an audience being a group of people sitting in a large darkened room on one side of a proscenium arch while a group of performers do their thing on the other. This need not be the case an audience can be a one on one experience, as in an audience with the Pope. So in terms of light do I need something to light as in a performance? Do we need performers? Do we need a show with a beginning and an end? Do we even need someone selling ice creams in the interval???


I had also tied myself up with the idea of representing the whole of the audio-scape in one linear real-time experience, but this is not what the vOICe does. The vOICe takes a snapshot of just a small part of the our hemisphere of perception and turns it into sound over the course of a second or two and then repeats the process.


As I have mentioned before the old red, green and blue disco lights that flash in time to the bass mid and treble of an audio signal in their way present us with a similar experience to the vOICe however these units tell us little about our environment, why? The problem is that if we plug an omnidirectional mic into one of these units we get the sounds from the whole of the environment represented, unlike the vOICe which presents us with just a small part of our surroundings to concentrate on. So we must use a Uni-Directional


microphone in order to pick-up sound from only the direction that we are interested in. If we now filter that signal into three separate signals, bass mid and treble, we can feed those signals to a single RGB LED red for the base signal, green for the mid range signal and blue for the high frequency signals. What we now have is a light source that will change colour and intensity depending on the frequency and amplitude of the signal it receives. Although this is representative it dose not immerse the audience in the same way that the vOICe does. In fact it cannot, when using the vOICe one is usually blindfolded or blind. Also as we use our ears to receive the audio from the vOICe we are deprived of yet another sense. Looking at a colour changing LED with the whole of the audio-scape we are trying to experience through that LED in the background can only distract us. The LED should be mounted on the inside of a mask, such as a painted out face protecting mask, that will obscure the view. While this gives us the experience from a specific direction that is not how we see. When we look at a scene our eye will scan that scene, we may then focus in on a particular part of the scene that takes our interest but all the while we are still seeing the rest of the scene with our peripheral vision. So we should add more audio inputs and more LEDs. I would suggest creating a horizontal array of about twelve mics arranged at 30 degrees to each other mounted in or on some nice piece of head ware. The LEDs should be mounted parallel to the mask so that the light shines out onto the mask rather than pointing into the eyes of the viewer. The LED attached to the fore-most pointing mic should be positioned directly in front of the eyes of the viewer with the rest arranged in an array that matches the layout of the mics with the rear-most LED pointing down to the viewers chin


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