Vibration Development

The Vibration element is a key aspect to the project however it is very important to me that I am not incorporating it for dramatic effect but to enhance the experience and fulfil the intention of the work.

One of the central objectives of my installation is to create a strong sense of foreboding through vibrations in the sound and building on this sensation by developing these to vibrations in the bed through the pillow, therefore affecting a different area of the body. This responds to one of the core ideas of the experience which is to cultivate a gradient of sound that is bodily aligned and multi sensory. This builds on the feedback that I have received throughout the testing process where participants reported that they felt a vibration afterwards the initial vibration sensation prompting them to think it had come back but it hadn’t highlighting it’s physical and emotional impact. The speakers and subwoofer enable me to produce a subtle vibration early on and follow this with a stronger vibration in the form of the pillow. This idea demonstrates and adds weight to the proposal of all speakers (aside from the subwoofer which is underneath) being embedded into the bed as this facilitates individuals to feel the vibrations of the sound as they travel. 

Therefore, I experimented with various vibration times in order to fully determine the most appropriate times to place the vibration. For example, I tested it near the start however this didn’t have the same impact and seemed out of place as it prevented any build up taking place and lost some of the potential for engagement and immersion.

In the end, I decided to go ahead with the following times with (LOW) representing the vibration on and (HIGH) representing when the vibration stops (in seconds). The reason for these particular times is to cultivate a sense of foreboding through the use of sound and vibrations with the audio particularly the low frequency sections. This is with the intention of taking participants on a journey that they are physically and emotionally engaged with whilst treading the fine line that the vibration is not a novelty element but a key aspect of the installation.

FINAL VIBRATION:

if (myChrono.hasPassed(vibrationDelay + 35000L) && toggle == true) {

digitalWrite(PILLOW, LOW);
}
if (myChrono.hasPassed(vibrationDelay + 39000L) && toggle == true) {

digitalWrite(PILLOW, HIGH);
}
if (myChrono.hasPassed(vibrationDelay + 55000) && toggle == true) {

digitalWrite(PILLOW, LOW);
}
if (myChrono.hasPassed(vibrationDelay + 67000) && toggle == true) {

digitalWrite (PILLOW, HIGH);

}

if (myChrono.hasPassed(vibrationDelay + 119000) && toggle == true) {

digitalWrite (PILLOW, LOW);

}
if (myChrono.hasPassed(vibrationDelay + 134000) && toggle == true) {

digitalWrite (PILLOW, HIGH);

}
if (myChrono.hasPassed(vibrationDelay + 217000) && toggle == true) {

digitalWrite (PILLOW, LOW);

}
if (myChrono.hasPassed(vibrationDelay + 240000) && toggle == true) {

digitalWrite (PILLOW, HIGH);

 

 

 

 

Storing the Technical Set-Up

At the start of this project, the initial idea was to place the technical set up in the bedside table which the switch is positioned on. However, throughout the extensive technical development, it became apparent that this wouldn’t be possible due to the fact I need to store a DVD player as well as the Arduino set up. Therefore, I looked into alternative options in terms of cabinets and bedside tables that will store this set up in, however this proved challenging in terms of the sheer size needed.

The dimensions of the entire set up (this includes the gap necessary for the remote to activate the player) are: 66cm x 72cm

It is challenging to find a bedside table, unit or cabinet that fitted this entire set up in without dominating the room as the bed and the experience that takes place in the bed absolutely must be the focus and essence of the piece. These are two options that I looked at:

  1. malm-chest-of-3-drawers-white__0132190_pe286970_s4\
  2. stuva-storage-bench-white-birch__0277428_pe416417_s4

 

However, after much consideration and speaking to my tutor group, these wouldn’t fit the aesthetic of the room and intention of the installation, therefore I decided to put the system under the bed and to cover it using a valence so that it was noticeable. Furthermore, the advantage of this option is that it fits the aesthetics of a simplistic, minimalistic space.

Next Steps:

  • Buy a suitable valence
  • Fit it to the bed and store technical set up underneath
  • Test this set up and ensure everything in secure and neat

Sound Editing

Although I worked very closely with Jon to compile the sound track together throughout the entire production process, I thought that it was important to communicate a basic understanding of the process and methodology that he has gone through in order to produce the final track.

Below are screenshots and his accompanying notes:

 

‘First, I’ve grouped tracks into stems, bounced them with all the effects plugins and then opened them into a new track – this is to make it easier to mix in surround, rather than having to deal with a hundred odd audio tracks.
Basically, from there I’ve been working with speaker movement with the surround panner. I’ve also been adding compression to certain effects to make them cut through the mix, as well as automating EQs of overlapping sounds so that when one needs to be more prominent than the other they both duck/spike in the track’

Remote Control Sound Activation System Working

As one of the components that has given me the most trouble throughout the course of this project in terms of technically achieving the precision required for a very delicate system. This video below demonstrates it working so the the switch activates the Sound through the remote control system. Due to the fragility of this set up, I will continue testing it over the coming days and weeks. It is also worth noting that I hot glued the remote connections that have been cold soldered in order to further secure them.

Following this, I further tested the system in the actual room in order to determine the timings required for the Sound to replay once the switch is pressed and not before. This required an extensive experimentation and trial and error process and ultimately I adjusted the code by taking out the second button press and ensure that the light timings are exceptionally accurate in order for the DVD to return to stop as opposed to playing on a continuous loop automatically.

This is demonstrated in some form below where I press the switch activating the sound and the light together.

The new code for the remote is below:

if (digitalRead(BUTTON) == HIGH && toggle == false)
{
//Serial.println(“pressed”);
toggle = true;
digitalWrite(LED, LOW);
//remote press//
digitalWrite(REMOTE, HIGH);
delay(100);
digitalWrite(REMOTE, LOW);//this is like pressing the button once
//////////////
myChrono.restart();
}
}
void lightsOn() {
//Serial.println(“on”);
digitalWrite(LED, HIGH);

}

 

Mini Group Tutorial

Yesterday, we met for a mini tutorial in relation to project development leading up to our critique next Monday. One of the most vital aims that I had walking into this tutorial was to confirm and discuss my aesthetic plans particularly in terms of painting as this is one of the most upcoming aspects of this project.

Prior Notes:

  • Going to paint it white – if not, paint it black – don’t want it to be too doom and gloom – like the idea of it being a blank canvas
  • Carpet – does it need to be a different colour if painting white??
  • Does there need to be a sign on it of what it is on door of container? Do I give any information?
  • Vibration – when to have vibration – don’t wanna over do it – don’t want it to be show and tell with – she feels vibration – heres a vibration
  • Sound mix – not sure what to do with it now – would love some feedback
  • Idea of having another speaker that has an echo
  • Having a mirror on wall if you walk in – when it is light – before light is turned off – on the wall when participants enter – is this a good idea?

 

Feedback:

  • Having sound feedback was really insightful and helpful as it got to the point where I had listened to the sound track ( ) so many times that I really valued fresh perspectives.
  • The feedback on the Sound was that it was really strong, very effectively developed from where it was initially and almost perfect up to the quality of Sound Artists work. This was really reassuring and touching to hear as I hadn’t had a great deal of Sound Editing experience prior to this project and it has very much been a learning curve for me in developing this skill, learning software and the ability to make creative and technical decisions. Although I have received significant help from Jon, Sound Designer and Music Student, the sound piece has been driven from my ideas, my vision and direction for the project and for that reason, I am proud of the progression in the mix. However, it is not quite there yet and there are still changes/adjustments that are required to push the quality of the Sound even further. It is noticeably hard to judge the sound in a stereo format without the constructed space and additional elements however Julie and my peers were able to give me some great tips.
    • Bring Electric buzzing sound in earlier – along with other sounds – should feel before hear corresponding dialogue
    • Bring the static in quicker and gradually
    • When it gets really loud towards the climax at the end, insert a gap in the voice so that you can hear the voice better
    • Let her dialogue drop off at the very end instead of it merely being obscured by the intensity of the climactic sound – this would focus on the sensation and elements at the very end, creating a purely physical experience. 
    • Make the ending more intense – bring the intensity up and a sharp finish
    • At this point, bring the light on – this is more a technical consideration in terms of being precise so that the participants are given a sudden real sense of where they are following the intense, immersive experience. 
    • Vibration: make it a journey – follow the sound/emotion plot of the story – experiment with having a subtle vibration early on but don’t know what it is until later – this could be done with sound as the vibration pillow only has one setting on or off
  • Painting colour – the general consensus was that white was the right decision as white symbolises dreams whereas black is more indicative of horror and terror which pre-empts the experience that subverts my intention. 
  • Carpet – Julie was very strong in her assertion that carpet wouldn’t be the most practical, effective or conceptually suitable choice for the flooring. Her reasoning made total sense instantly as carpet transforms it into a domestic space resembling a bedroom rather than a portal. MDF board will be much more fitting which I will discuss with the 3D Workshop instead of carpet. This would also be financially better as Carpet totalled approximately £85 compared to the free MDF. I remember that when originally discussing this with Phil, Head Technician, he made the point that this may cause problems with the levels of the floor, however this is something that I can talk through.
  • In terms of the introduction of the installation, Julie advised me to research epilepsy and whether elements of my installation would be problematic for epileptics. This is a fine line as there are ethical considerations that I have a responsibility to act on, however, at the same time, I do not want to spoil or pre empt the impact of the piece. Therefore, on possibly option suggested by one of my peers would possibly locating, if one exists, an epileptic symbol. 

 

Next Steps:

  • Conduct the Edit to the sound and make sure the end of the sound piece is in time with light turning on 
  • Use Sound/Emotion plot to develop the times of the vibration pillow – having vibrations before sound that build throughout the piece – testing will form a huge part of this process
  • Speak to the 3D Workshop about using MDF for the flooring instead of carpet and problem solve any complications that come with this
  • Paint inside white
  • Research epilepsy and any possibly symbols/terminology for activities/events that could act as triggers

Decided on the Colour to paint the Container?

One of the most prominent aspects of the Critique feedback was in terms of the aesthetics incorporating painting the inside of the container. Although my original idea was to present it as a bedroom, discussions that ensued in the Crit made me realise that this would cultivate an inappropriate atmosphere as it extends to issues surrounding gender, stereotypes and colour in addition to the fact that it will provide a very focused, specific way for participants to experience the piece. Whereas, a key focus of my intention is to provide an audience with a blank canvas; an installation which seeks to stimulate individuals imagination, enabling them to cultivate their own experience based on their unique, bespoke set of personal memories. This then led on to a discussion about the alternative option that has been on the table which is to create a clinical, simplistic, minimalistic space. The concerns with this is that it removes a degree of the personal touch away from the layout the design of the installation, and it is a huge part of the piece that a wide and varied audience feel relaxed and comfortable enough to engage. The two main options are either to paint the entire inside (including floor) white or black. However, these two ideas have very diverse and contrasting connotations that I will fully analyse in order to sufficiently and effectively determine the most fitting aesthetic decision.

Connotations of white cube:

47b5a_jan18_whitecube_img

  • White evokes the sensation of infinite space – there are no limitations – no boundaries – very reflective of the idea of subjectivity. I really like the idea of white cultivating a space that is somewhat of a blank canvas where there are no prior conceptions
  • In terms of art, ‘white is symbolic of safety, cleanliness and purity. White emanates youth, perfection and innocence. Angels are usually thought of as white. White is simplicity and freshness, but too much can give a clinical feeling. Doctors, hospitals and sterility are associated the white‘. Out of this definition, the idea of having a fresh, pure, clean, simple, minimalist look and feel to the installation appeals to me as there are no prior interpretations or expectations, leaving it totally up to the individual and their subconscious state as to how they interact and experience the work. Hence, accentuating the sound and physical elements of the installation as opposed to thinking too deeply or being distracted from the aesthetic elements. This would also emulate a bedroom scene and is oddly appealing by connoting innocence, youth and purity; I definitely want it to be an inviting, intriguing experience where audience members aren’t totally sure about what they are going to get. This has encouraged me to contemplate what introduction participants will have in relation to the work – should I warn them of the vibration and physical elements? Alternatively, is it more appropriate to leave it open ended so that they have no idea what they are about to encounter, playing on the anticipation (through what they can hear) and the shock value.
  • Problems: I don’t want it to look like a medical room, really detached, really unrelatable – very medical and clinical. However, the fact that it won’t be light but rather a pale dark as it is a darkened, enclosed space will hopefully mean that these medical clinical implications won’t be as prevalent.
Connotations of black cube:
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  • Although the original intention was to cultivate a pitch black space to fully immerse participants into the experience which resembles a nights sleep, the idea of painting it black comes with it’s own aesthetic and conceptual complications.
  • An example of this is the fact that black has the potential to exude a morbid, gloomy feeling. ‘It gives us a feeling of the unknown and negative connotations like, black-hole, blacklist, black-humor or black-death.  In most Western cultures, black is the symbol of grief.
  • My thinking now is that a pitch black painting of the inside could produce a space that is very sinister, which on one hand, may serve the piece successfully in terms of evoking panic, worry and a real, raw sense of suspension and anticipation. However, on the other hand, this also has the potential to embody some significantly negative ideas, immediately cultivating a sense that this is going to be a scary experience. This isn’t necessarily the experience that I am trying to create as Night Terrors are universal and aren’t just one thing; they are multi faceted, multi dimensional, rich and complex. This also ties in with the notion that I do not want to tell individuals how to experience, engage or feel in regards to the content or any aspect of the installation.

 

Next Steps:

  • Paint white and assess – paint over in black if necessary?
  • Chat to Peter, Julie and peers in regards to aesthetic issues
  • More discussion and thought into how to introduce/present the installation to audience members particularly in a gallery space? Do I need to put a pre warning in relation to some of the physical aspects?

References: 

http://www.finearttips.com/2009/08/use-the-hidden-meaning-of-color-in-your-art/

Container Update

After Latoya, Helen and Tobi moved my container to make room for their installation (20th), due to the fact that the Blue Shed has been closed down, I found that the roof had been knocked and was slanting downwards. I contacted Chris, my course leader, as this is a health and safety hazard and needs sorting out as a matter of urgency. I found this entire process very stressful and frustrating as nobody informed me of the issue – I found it myself.

Screen Shot 2017-04-08 at 17.55.44.png

I met with Chris and Tobi early the next morning (21st) to address the situation and develop a solution. Chris assessed the risk involved and after ascertaining that it was relatively sturdy and therefore posed a minimal danger of falling. However, I still felt uncomfortable positioning myself under it for substantial periods of time, in addition to expecting testing participants and audience members to do the same. I spoke to the 3D Workshop and they suggested that one solution would be to position poles in the space to hold up an even roof, however, this would totally jeopardise the whole look of the piece which is an immersive experience, therefore presentation is key.

After speaking to Head Technician Phil in more depth, he suggested that there was an alternative way to fix the roof without affecting the overall appearance and inside construction of the space. This was to attach boulders and lower the roof, which I suggested as a possible option as there is no need for it to be as high as it currently is particularly as it is just causing obstructions and problems. This meant that the lowered roof is much more stable, easier to manage in terms of the height of the Portakabin and the lights attached to the ceiling, as well as providing a more enclosed, immersive space. Although this was a highly frustrating process and at times, felt totally unnecessary, the new constructed roof is much better than the original and I am pleased that these actions haven’t affected the overall aesthetics of my installation.

insert photo of new roof – lowered 

A few days later, I found that, as a result of these problems, the door was slightly damaged as it couldn’t properly open. With help from the 3D Workshop, they placed a wedge in the door to ensure that it didn’t get stuck. Although this meant that the door could easily be opened, the problem lies in closing it due to the fact that the roof has been adjusted and the door has been knocked slightly in these processes. There is no long term solution at this moment in time but I am just seeing how it goes and being firm but careful in closing it. If this proves to be a problem, I will develop a more thorough and permanent solution with the 3D Workshop over the Easter break.

*photo of door wedge

Overall Evaluation:

  • I am frustrated that these actions and circumstances, which were totally out of my control, meant that I lost a huge chunk of time trying to fix it but it has resulted in a much more suitable, practical and effective construction particularly in terms of the roof. In this sense, I am pleased that I was able to develop a solution, with the help from the 3D Workshop, which didn’t affect the aesthetics of the space or my installation as this was a concern upon finding the roof in a collapsed state.
  • The door is functional enough for now but for the sake of ease of access, I will look into constructing a simpler, more effective door that closes and opens effortlessly as I do not want to this to retract from the immersion involved in entering the room
  • During this process, one of my ideas was to use this opportunity to reduce the entire room as it doesn’t need to be as large as it is – I want just being cautious in my original dimensions of the space. However, ultimately, I made the decision to stick with this size as the roof could easily be adjusted without removing panels, hence reducing the container and this had the potential to add further complications. 

Next Steps: 

  • Keep an eye on the door and seek adjustment advice from 3D Workshop if it persists to be a problem – a good test for this is when testing on my participants, is this something that they struggle with/notice?
  • Paint the entire inside of the container white and assess? Would black be more effective? This decision can only be made through experimentation – white is definitely the logical option to start with and black can be added on top if required
  • Sort out the flooring – MDF, carpet? Speak to 3D Workshop about easiest option for this