Trace Aureity

May 2008

Supported by New York State Music Fund

Trace Aureity is an interactive, immersive, audiovisual sculpture located in the 3-D synthetic world Second Life. There are eighty-eight manipulated field recordings — from city streets, birdsong, to talkback radio — and ninety-six nested rotating objects densely arranged in a three dimensional grid. Avatars, either solo or in groups, generate sounds by moving through the installation. Some of the innermost nested objects, colored red, also spawn glowing spheres which fly out and bounce around inside the work, triggering sounds as they pass through other objects.

Because the playable space is so dense, players are rewarded by slowing down their movements as much as possible, since even miniscule movements create differences in sonic output. The contingencies of time-based interaction by people-as-avatars creates a dynamic audiovisual composition, always unique to that moment and those interactors. This may be seen to represent an evolution of the aleatoric composition techniques of John Cage and Brian Eno, as well as an enactment of the objets sonore of Pierre Schaeffer.

REQUIREMENTS

The installation no longer exists in Second Life.

ADDITIONAL NOTES

trace aureity – artist notes

the most durable and stable traits of our reality would merely represent a local slowing down of this flowing reality .” Manuel DeLanda, A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History
(p.258. Swerve Editions, New York, 2000)

It is not that music or the world have become incomprehensible: the concept of comprehension itself has changed; there has been a shift in the locus of the perception of things.” Jacques Attali, Noise: The Political Economy of Music
(p. 133. Univeristy of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 1985)

In this work, since it is commissioned by the Networked_Music_Review, I have attempted to concentrate on the sound and music generative qualities of interactive realtime 3D. The work uses 88 separate audio samples from field recordings of ordinary reality: city streets, birdsong, talkback radio, etc. These sounds are harmonically filtered and manipulated (and usually slowed down) according to a rational scale of my own devising, based on a fundamental tone of 77Hz, and proceeding in intervals of whole numbers over seven.

The work is designed for avatars to play within. There are 96 nested rotating objects, densely arranged in a three dimensional grid. When passed through by an avatar, these objects sound. Certain of the innermost nested objects, coloured red, also spawn glowing spheres which fly out at velocity and bounce around inside the work, triggering sounds as they pass through other objects, before they disappear after about a minute.

Because the audiovisual navigable/playable space of this work is so dense, the interactor is rewarded by slowing down their movements as much as possible, since even small movements create differences in sonic output, be that by translation or rotation, since the environment outputs spatialised stereo with depth falloff.

The work is designed to be played, either solo or in groups, as slowly as possible. The contingencies of time-based interaction by people-as-avatars creates a dynamic audiovisual composition, always unique to that moment and those interactors. This may be seen to represent an evolution of the aleatoric composition techniques of Cage and Eno, as well as an enactment of the objets sonore of Pierre Schaeffer. These approaches, among many others, are given extraordinary enabling potential by digital media generally and interactive multi-user realtime 3D specifically.

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