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Three Cities

Video, kinect, and 4-channel sound installation
Sir Duncan Rice Library at the University of Aberdeen, 2012

Three Cities, an intermedia installation, is the concluding part of SERG’s project, Three Cities Project. The sound and video materials used in this installation were collected by SERG members over the last two years in three cities—Aberdeen, Bergen, and St. Petersburg, all of which are coastal.

Three Cities has four components through which the audience or viewer experiences the installation: audio and video recordings, the audience’s actions to trigger these recordings, and nine warped noise fields.

We visited each city for a few days and recorded sound materials. For the videos, two SERG members and one local artist, each of whom was equipped with a wearable camcorder and an audio recorder, all started in one place in the cities and took three different paths to the sea. On our way, we asked people in the cities for the directions to get to the sea. Once reaching the sea, the videos return to the beginning and restart the journey.

These audio and video recordings must be activated through the audience/viewer’s participation. There are three areas in front of the video-wall, and each area is designated for each city. Once the viewer enters one of the areas, the Kinect detects the presence and plays the video clips and sounds from the corresponding city.

Without any activation, the installation shows nine noise fields and plays a soundscape composition (made up of recordings from the three cities) by Pete Stollery. The noise fields are based on the following equation:

f(p) = fbm(p + fbm(p + fbm(p))) (Iñigo Quílez, 2002)

where f(p) is a function of form in geometry and fbm(p) is the function of Fractional Brownian Motion. The resulting images are a series of warped noise fields that not only look like topographic representations, but also resemble the fragility of our remembering (or the power of our imagining) places.

SERG (Sound Emporium Research Group), University of Aberdeen, Sound and video materials: Pete Stollery, Ross Whyte, and Suk-Jun Kim, Programming (Processing, Pure Data, and Kinect): Suk-Jun Kim, Sir Duncan Rice Library at the University of Aberdeen, UK, Oct. 27, 2012 for a week