Final Documentation of Installation

In this post, I will document the entire installation made up of the individual components that I will be handing in today with critical annotations throughout.

  • The entire set up consisting of a bed and bedside table in a white cubic container purpose built for this experience. I ultimately decided to position the LED strip light slightly underneath the pillow so that it illuminates the bed which is the focal point of the entire installation. I did this for two reasons; one being the fact that the cable and LED light provided a distraction opposing the minimalistic design which presents a blank canvas to participants. The second reason is that this ties in with one of the central aims of the piece which is to emulate and apply ideology from the semantic field of anthropomorphism in terms of giving the inanimate object of the bed animate qualities linking in with the idea that the bed tells the story of the night and is a manifestation of ‘her’.

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  • This image simply shows the DVD player stored under the valence with 6 speaker outputs for the surround system.

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  • The vibration pillow is embedded within the mattress positioned under the back of the participant in order to contribute and complete the gradient of sound and vibration that fully immerses the body.

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  • This is a rough shot of the Arduino set up positioned within the valence (under the bed) plugged into the extension lead and the cable that leads to the switch on the bedside table. It is facing the DVD player in order for the switch to activate the remote press, hence the sound.

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  • The front speakers are positioned on the floor of the bed frame facing up – the reason for this is to make them prominent as I have encountered significant difficulties in relation to the prominence of the speakers. They are still within the space of the bed but this enables the sound to travel more clearly.

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  • The subwoofer is also placed under the bed and has been the entire time in order to  simulate low frequency vibrations

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  • The painted wall and seamless finish that I am really pleased with – painting over the tape was successful and it is a thick coating which only heightens the immersion of the space

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  • This is the opening and entrance of the installation with a sign printed on photo paper and mounted that instructs participants to take their shoes off and to press the switch to begin the experience. This follows the same aesthetic as the piece in the sense that it is simplistic and clean. 

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  • The switch is positioned directly next to the bed providing easy access to participants
  • This video effectively illustrates the set up of the technical components that are stored within the valence

Final Set Up:

Final Audience Testing

As my family were up yesterday helping me put the final touches to the set up and construction, I maximised the opportunity by testing the experience, in particular, the sound and speaker orientation on them in order to gain some final feedback. The reason for this is that I felt it was beneficial to obtain some feedback from what would be my audience, gaining a fresh perspective as they haven’t experienced it before and therefore will have insight that I may not have thought of.

Test 1:

  • Have the vibration positioned under the back opposed to lower down
  • Had problems hearing the dialogue throughout – increase these levels

 

Test 2:

  • Really effectual – felt like being in a cinema experience 
  • The sounds in the bed worked really well as the experience was entirely focused on the bed therefore the fact that the rest was blank enabled me to really think about what was happening
  • Could benefit from having more sounds by my feet
  • It felt like when you wake up from a dream and was constantly captivating totally disorientating me – I was engaged the whole time!
  • I felt the vibration could be even more effective if used when she talked about feeling fuzzy to create a physical manifestation of the dialogue

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Test 3:

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  • Very immersive – I got lost in it
  • The vibration mat was brilliant
  • The sounds were very atmospheric particularly the rumbling
  • I couldn’t always hear her voice – adjust the dialogue levels 
  • I could definitely feel and hear the sounds travelling around me
  • I kept my eyes shut the whole time – it felt the most natural thing to do
  • The fact that there are gaps between the vibration pillow were appropriate in order to preserve it’s impact 

 

Evaluation:

  • This feedback was really useful as it enabled me to take a step back and identify any remaining issues that existed within the sound content
  • The volume is something that I hadn’t personally noticed and this is important as there will be a wide ranging audience for this piece and therefore having crisp, clear dialogue is essential
  • The vibration notes are valuable as it is always been something that I have tacked with – this idea of the vibration not being a novelty component but adding meaning and supporting the intention – this is something that I could explore more through experimentation and testing, referring to my sound/emotion plot
  • I am really pleased that in this version, the sound is much more effective and you can really feel it moving around the bed and the room which is something that I have been struggling with for some time. However, my own personal feedback and audience testing strongly indicated that this could be enhanced further in particular place which I will feed back to Jon for final tweaking. 
  • Further to this, my personal feedback of the sound is that the vibration at the end shouldn’t stop until the sharp sound at the end as this signifies an diminuendo whereas this goes against the intention which is to build towards a climax at the end.
  • Unrelated to sound, but the amount of light seeping through the door is a distraction and therefore I will most definitely try to reduce some way as I fear that this will take people’s attention away from the experience taking place in the bed and in the dark.

 

Next Steps:

  • Add a trim to the door to reduce light seeping through
  • Re-do vibration timings in accordance with the sound/emotion plot, new sound track and feedback and test these
  • Discuss these Sound notes with Jon and test new track

Fixing a Trim around the Door

Aesthetically, I didn’t like the way that there was a huge chunk of space between the door and the rest of the MDF container as it goes against my intention which is to cultivate a pitch black immersive environment which will envelop individuals within an audience into a physically and emotionally engaging experience of an individual’s experience of the effects of her Night Terror and Sleep Paralysis encounters focused around the bed and the body. This is particularly noticeable in this area as it is what individuals see when lying in the bed/participating in the experience which, again, subverts my intention which is to keep them immersed and enticed in the experience for the duration and if they are tempted to open their eyes, this is likely to take them out of the experience.

Therefore, I fitted a trim around the door to block out some of the light that was seeping in. 

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One of the effects of adding this trim is that the door is harder to shut and needs a firm push, however I think that this is definitely worth it’s addition. It is also much easier to shut from the inside as opposed to the outside which is favourable as that is how individuals will be using the door (as the enter).

 

Evaluation:

  • When closed, the door lets much less light in than before which helps to cultivate a dark, immersive environment hence experience
  • The trim doesn’t look out of place which I had worried it might have as it creates a wood border that fits in nicely with the rest of the container
  • It is harder to close the door but possibly with a firm grip and is much easier from the inside which is where individuals will be closing it.
  • This process has made it very apparent to me that this is one of the issues with such a large purpose built container that cannot be accessed from the outside which means there are areas where light seeps in and I am unable to tape or paint from the outside as I would with a different type of construction.

 

Next Steps: 

  • Tape any other corners that let in light and paint over the tape
  • Paint over any other areas of tape that are still slightly noticeable and have the potential to take away from the experience
  • Sweep and wipe the floor so that it is clean and glistening
  • Test the door to ensure that it can be closed from the inside relatively easily 

 

Sound Adjustments

Following the previous Sound Adjustments, Jon and I tested the Sound again today and unfortunately, although there was a noticeable improvement in the mix, problems remained particularly in terms of the prominence of the front speakers and cultivating a bodily aligned experience.

The feedback that I gave to Jon for the final adjustments:

  • Increase the volume of the dialogue as mentioned before
  • When she talks about the sofa, have something going on particularly in front speakers/down by the feet at this point around 1:50 – if could have majority of this at front of bed that would be great – as this is when I wanted to open my eyes – I want people immersed throughout and have the sounds travel as this section intensifies – it is building to a crescendo – so maybe have the sound starting at front and travelling to back so that it is totally immersive?
  • Cat sound – this is really effective – maybe emphasise the cat miaowing more as it travels to the front speakers – especially the loud high pitched part at the end
  • The creature movement is really good – possibly even more movement for the second time when it is re introduced – more movement which travels down and emphasise prominence at front speakers

 

New, improved Sound Mix for final test on Sunday

 

 

Sound Test using new Speaker Orientation

New Sound Mix: 

This is the improved Sound track that I used for this test centred around experimenting with the new speaker orientation in order to cultivate an experience that is bodily aligned rather than just at the head of the bed so that sound travels from the head of the body all the way through, to heighten this sense of a gradient of sound enticing and entrapping individuals in the bed, thus intensifying the experience in a visceral way. 

Feedback from Testing with Jon: 

  • The levels of sounds are stronger and the speaker placement works well
  • The strong sub is effective in the way that it makes you feel the vibrations of the sounds adding to the effect of the installation.
  • The speakers placed in the bed are not noticeable when lying down, especially the voiceover in the pillow which also creates a certain shock factor as sounds are introduced
  • The placement of the speakers throughout the bed also creates a nice separation between the sounds so all frequency ranges can be heard and the voiceover isn’t overpowered
  • As opposed to recent tests the sound seems to be dispersed all around the room rather than focused behind your head as it used to be
  • However, the sound is still predominantly focused on the back speakers as opposed to the front which prevents a bodily aligned experience that is part of my intention.

 

Evaluation:

  • The power of the sub in cultivating vibrations of sound offers plenty of potential in terms of the vibration pillow as the these vibrations can forebode the intensified vibration from the pillow building up to a crescendo
  • I am pleased that the speaker orientation doesn’t adversely affect the bed in terms of lumpiness or an uneven surface. This is important as it is pertinent that it doesn’t appear obvious that there are speakers in the bed as the whole idea is that the bed tells the story of the night and that an inanimate object is given animate characteristics. 
  • The speaker orientation facilitates for an experience that has depth to it as you can hear the sound travel through the bed encompassing a multitude of dynamic range and frequencies, contributing to a multidimensional, multi sensory experience and journey.
  • There is most definitely a sense of sound moving around the room and bed as opposed to just behind the head but this isn’t prominent enough as it is still predominantly the back speakers even with the new orientation. Therefore, I am going to go through the Sound mix and write an extensive list of changes and adjustments that I think will help tackle this issue in terms of specific surround movement, volume e.t.c.

 

Surround Adjustment ideas: 

  1. Buzzing start from FRONT RIGHT (foot of bed) travels to FRONT LEFT – REAR RIGHT – REAR LEFT
  2. When it hits 25 seconds, gets more intense – have sound through all 4 speakers – so it goes from travelling up the body to totally surrounding the body
  3. Wave can be much more prominent – start wave movement at the two speakers near the feet – especially emphasise this when there are pauses in dialogue – add more if necessary
  4. Some of the feedback I got was that you can only hear sound from dialogue speaker and speaker nearest to the back so definitely want more stuff at front speakers – to create and enhance this sense of foreboding – you hear it and then it become more intense and more SURROUND
  5. Around one minute, hear a buzzing – need to feel a strong buzzing there – hear the buzzing before the dialogue says buzzing and then after this I will activate the vibration pillow so the buzzing vibration of sound forebodes the vibration effect which is much more intensified – hopefully entrapping and enticing participants in the bed – the bed tells the story of the night!
  6. Cat – moves from rear left to the rear right to front left to front right – cat feels as if it is moving down a person – make this as spatial as possible – it is one speaker and then another speaker (BEHIND) and then is through the body
  7. With the static – possibly have it in front speakers first (NEAR FEET) and then build up so its back speakers and is constantly going to and fro and then JUST have in the front speakers to having it all in four speakers to intensify this effect – this way it gives it time to build
  8. Put fizzing in before she says tingling fizzing feeling at 2 mins 6 seconds
  9. Then when talking about sofa, unsure of this buzzing sound there the entire time as it might get a little bit repetitive? Let me know thoughts – maybe adjust it slightly so it is more of a journey – that is builds towards a crescendo in this section –
  10. The whooshing sound at 2:13 – have this move – start at feet move towards head
  11. Then when it goes back to buzzing – have this quietly on speakers behind and have new sound that comes in when she says people talking
  12. When she says personalities, accents, etc – and there is this whooshing sound – have it travel from feet and travel up the body 
  13. Then it goes silent for a moment and buzzing is reintroduced – having this on two speakers towards foot of the bed and turn this up to make it more prominent –
  14. Again with the creature, have it start at foot of bed and move upwards really increase this volume if necessary
  15. Then again at 3:24 mins – have in the back speakers but then have it travel to front so it is no longer in back speakers and then final sounds are intensified and build up so it is a totally immersive surrounding experience
  16. Loud sound at end even harsher, sharper and louder 

 

Next Steps:

  • Send surround notes to Sound Designer Jon and discuss
  • Organise another test for later in the week with the incorporated adjustments
  • Test myself and make notes during the test for any final changes
  • Audience testing for fresh perspective and insightful feedback 

Minimalistic White Cube Aesthetic

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Evaluation:

  • The decision to paint the room white was a good decision despite occupying a great deal of time and effort, comprising of three coats on all walls, ceiling and floors, taping all joints and holes and painting numerous coats over said tape.
  • I really like the way in which it is a classic design that has connotations of purity, cleanliness and simplicity, therefore not imposing any specific meaning or angle to how participants will be inclined to experience the work. The reason for this is that the main idea behind the project is to evoke an experience that is bespoke and unique to each participant, as the white cube resembles a blank canvas. Additionally, this aesthetic will further enable participants to lose a sense of where they are, heightening the focus of each experience on the individuals imagination. 

‘I also kinda love the idea that if its really bare, you’re leaving people to fill the room with their minds, so laying in a bed with my eyes closed could bring me to a memory of my room and although my objects aren’t there, they can be because there aren’t ones already in the room telling me otherwise’ Test Feedback

  • This feedback validates my gut instinct in terms of this aesthetics as one of my participants has further confirmed the white cube thesis
  • Moreover, this layout and design is indicative of the level of separation between the conscious and subconscious elements involved in this installation; it is as if it resembles a bedroom but it doesn’t.

 

 

Producing a Seamless Finish

Although I am incredibly happy with the quality and finish of the paint, the very way in which it was constructed means that you can see the screws and that it comprises of several MDF boards; this is particularly noticeable with the floor.

Therefore, I have taped over all these areas with duct tape to produce a more professional and seamless finish where the space resembles a pure, simple, minimalistic white cube which is immersive and enticing more than it does a constructed MDF container. Therefore, I decided to apply a few coats of paint over all the tape to produce a more professional and clean finish that is particularly important when dealing with white.

Before:

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After:

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Evaluation:

  • Although this doesn’t totally get rid of the tape marks, it significantly reduces them, producing a cleaner, smoother aesthetics that will further heighten the immersion effects in accordance with the intention of the piece
  • The corners are much easier to create this effect with due to the fact that they are less on display, compared to the walls, floor and ceiling. However, applying multiple coats is the best way to tackle this as it will predominantly lessen the visible effects of the tape. 

 

Next Steps:

  • Continue painting over all tape until there is a consistent smooth coating of paint throughout so that cultivates a white cube focused entirely on the bed and the experience that takes place.
  • Audience testing – in order to determine the most problematic areas in terms of tape