Blaus – Playmodes

Laser Beams, Light & Sound Installation VAD Festival. Girona 2012

Blaus introduces us in the abstract realm of three dimensional geometry in time. It can be a cube or a blossoming flower, a grid or a jellyfish; a mutant entity of reflecting lights which submerge the audience into a symbolical universe, driven by hidden forces of the architecture.

Blaus is an immersive space where light and sound relate intimately to impact on the visitor. Movement of light, sound and laser beams generates a kinetic atmosphere that transforms the architecture into the main character of a geometric play.

Blaus is a site-specific installation. The whole visual and sound creation is proposed by the architecture of the site where it’s held. Blaus adapts itself and mutates on every location as a simple result of it’s perceptual origins: space, light and sound.

Through the use of self-made technologies, both hardware and software, Blaus re-draws the space by creating dynamical light figures which emerge from the architectural characteristics. The mix of motorized laser beams, and mirrors on key points of the room allows for multiple dynamic combinations of three dimensional forms. Also, the formal dramatism introduced by RGB light design, helps to reinforce the concepts behind each mutation.

At the same time, architecture itself is used as a musical source, since the study of the room acoustics and it’s resonance frequency allows for using the space as a giant musical instrument. Anchoring on this resonance frequency and its harmonics, a sound composition is generated that matches and reinforces the architecture in the same way that laser does, allowing the space to speak.

Light and sound are always related in time, frequency and perceptive domains, as several self-made software algorithms link light, sound and movement in an intricate manner. A poetical will, summed to the convergent research of musical and visual relationships of geometry, make it possible to breathe life into the architecture.

We spent a whole week working on-site, playing with lasers, motors, mirrors and sound, and ended up with a setup that mixed 6 motorized and 2 static laser diodes, around 20 mirrors of different sizes (from 1cm to 3 meter long), 2 RGB-DMX fixtures, and a sound PA with a big subwoofer.

Watch the full performance here. Playmodes and MID. More here.

One of the most interesting facts about working with architecture is the ability to understand, map and re-interpret the space. In the cistern, we liked to accentuate some geometrical aspects of the architecture by using mirrors and lasers, but we also worked with acoustic mapping.

We managed to find the resonance frequency of the space, that happened to be 43hz. Playing a sine wave through a subwoofer inside this space, the whole architecture acted as a giant speaker, amplifier, or resonance box, thus augmenting the amplitude of the sound waves. Acoustical experience on the audience was highly physical, as we worked on a soundtrack that took advantage of this resonant frequency, and all composition was made using 43hz and its harmonic series as a compositive source. In addition to that, the long reverberation of the space (approx. 12 seconds) was used creatively as a sound element.

In order to compose and play the 12 lasers beams, servo motors, lights and musics composition we used Duration software from James George (NYC). James developped some time ago ofxTimeline, an addon for OpenFrameworks libraries which works in the direction of developping a timeline tool which features editing, recording and playing back of data timelines which can output into MIDI, OSC, Serial, DMX signals.

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