FLUX LIVE: VISUAL SOUND - A Masterclass with Analema Group
[INTRO] Hello everyone, I am Oliver And I'm very excited to welcome you all to our Art in flux event: Flux live presenting the first-ever Analema Group master class on Visual Sound. I would like to start by introducing you to Art in Flux, an artist led community interest company for artists working on the intersection of the arts and technology. Founded in 2016 by the artists Aphra Shemza, Maria Almena and myself. We have grown from a loose forum of 30 artists into a group of over 2000+ practicing media artists.
We have a particular focus on supporting media artists coming from underrepresented groups such as Women-tech, LGBTQ+, diverse heritage backgrounds, and neurodiverse artists. We have created a platform for media artists to work with institutions too, and so far we have worked with the V&A Museum, National Gallery x, Goldsmiths University, and the Royal College of Art. We curate and produce different types of events, including our socials which provide a forum of an intimate and supportive environment for our media arts community. These socials are focused on a peer-to-peer approach and are hosted to encourage networks and collaborations between our artists. We also have larger curated talks events that allow us to bring key themes from the media arts community to the general public. For previous events, we’ve partnered with organizations such as Royal College of Art, Laser London, and Central Saint Martins.
Last year, we were honored to confirm National Gallery X as our partner for our larger talks events. In 2020, we created 3 events, and recordings of these events are available online on the Art in FLUX and The National Gallery X’s websites. Our workshop program makes our artistic practices accessible to the wider public, and we are excited to have developed new online workshops for Space, South East Creatives, and Norden Farm so far. This year we also curated and produced our first Virtual exhibition “Reclaimed” supported by Arts Council England and launched at National Gallery in March. This exhibition is going to be live again so please check our website where you can find more details.
And now, I would like to share a short video reel from our last physical exhibition 'EVENT TWO' at the Royal College of Art, with you. [MUSIC] With Art in FLUX we responded to the need for more virtual live events, so last year we created 3 Flux lives, a new forum to showcase live media performances. Recordings are now accessible via our ART IN FLUX YouTube channel. This year we are transforming our FLUX LIVEs, into a series of online events that consist of performance Master Classes with live Q&A. These events are focused on making multimedia performances accessible to young creatives like yourselves.
And for the first Flux Live in 2021, we are delighted to have the international studio Kimatica who will be presenting their very first public master-class. And today we'll be launching the first masterclass by the Analema Group. Before we get started with Analema Group’s Master Class, we have a short message from an ambassador for the arts and champion for diversity: Daniel Lismore. You will know Daniel Lismore from being the face of the UK’s capital of culture, gracing Picadilly circus with his campaign for H&M, his awe-inspiring TED talk and his exhibitions around the globe: Daniel over to you: Hello my name is Daniel Lismore, I am an artist and ever since I can remember I have been an advocate and an ambassodor and a champion of diversity and LGBTQIA+ rights, which are human rights, and creativity In fact, I've lived my entire adult life as an artwork.
I beleive in the power of self expression. I also believe in the power of art. Your thoughts can be so powerful and sometimes you can create great objects or idea and put them down and they can speak for you when sometimes your voice isn't being heard. The importance of art is a basic human need.
and it is so needed in society. It's vital to our culture and to our species. Go out there and be creative, be yourself because everybody else is already taken, and go and be whatever and whoever you choose. Thank you so much Daniel. and with these words of inspiration, let us start with the very first Analema Group Masterclass on visual sound. [MUSIC] Analema Group is a London based Arts collective, founded by the artist Evgenia Emets in 2010, and we have been creating visual sound experiences for over 10 years now.
We create experiences on the intersection between art and technology and our mission is to reflect on the nature of perception, exploring the relationships between sound, vision, colour, light, movement and form. Our participatory art fills the gap between performers and audiences, enabling them to question their senses and the boundaries of perception. The Analema Group is an art collective focusing on the relationship between sound and vision the 10 Year long history in creative immersive participatory art experiences. The core collection of the Analema Group are the artists Evgenia Emets, David Negrao, Alain Renaud, and Oliver Gingrich working internationally. Founded by the artist Evgenia Emets in 2010 Analema group has been created as a forum for collaboration and artistic research between arts, science and technology. We are creating immersive experiences for our audiences focusing on such subjects as light, colour, sound, vision, and different relationships between them.
The core of our art, our signature project: KIMA, has it self experienced transformations in the form of creative collaborations Immersive installations and participatory performances. The latest trends of the project are called KIMA: Colour, KIMA: Noise, KIMA: Voice. But the core of the project almost spans back 10 years when we started to explore visual expressions of sound. KIMA is derived from the Greek word kýma which means wave and eludes to the concept of cymatic patterns.
Waveforms become visable when sound meets matter such as sand or liquids. The project KIMA explores this relationship between sound and vision digitally as immersive participatory art instiallations where the audience becomes an active participant in the creation of the artwork. In the installation at the union chapel we explored mathematical relationships between sound and vision through cymatic patterns was live sound improvisation. [MUSIC] For the 50th year anniversary of London's Roundhouse, we created a 360 degree installation focusing on the human voice. KIMA: Wheel made use of machine learning algorithms to express nuances and the richness of the human voice such as timber.
[Vocalising] One of our recent projects KIMA: Voice focuses on the mathematical relationships between human voices while looking at harmonies, intervals, and resonance. [Singing] KIMA: Voice has been exhibited at the royal college of art at the great exhibition road festival and the barbican. And has now been selected for the Lumen Art Prize.
Another key project by the Analema Group is KIMA: Noise An art and research project on the facts of urban noise on health and wellbeing. The research has been conducted in collaboration with the scientist Professor Stephen Stansfield and was exhibited at Tate Exchange, Tate Modern as a site-specific immersive installation framed by workshops, talks, and an art film. With KIMA: Noise we are streaming urban noises in real-time and inviting the audiences to design their own sound scapes through a visual interface. Sounds are captured from the vicinity of the Tate and can be rearranged by the audience as 3D Sound trajectories within the space of the Tate Exchange. A visual artwork allows us to experience noise through an understanding of noise and how they might affect our wellbeing. Analema group has been recently commissioned by National Gallery X and U digital studio by the national gallery to develop and create new artwork KIMA: Colour Inspired by the colour pallets of some of the National Gallery most important artworks we created an immersive 360-degree video and sound artwork.
[music] KIMA: Colour can be experienced by the audiences at home on their mobile using headphones as a 3D sound and video artwork. [Atmospheric sound] Working in collaboration with researchers and curators at the National Gallery we continue to explore our understanding of colour in new creative ways. Together this project shows the diversity of different avenues to look creatively at the relationship of sound and vision. KIMA continues to put our audiences at the center of visual sound experiences as participatory immersive art instillations. [Singing, Outro] The members of the collective are Evgenia Emets, Alain Renaud David Negrao, and myself, Oliver Gingrich. Let’s hear from the members of the collective who they are and why they love working with visual sound.
[MUSIC] Hello my name is Evgenia Emets I'm an artist, poet, and also founder of Analema group collective. I myself work a lot with sound, voice visual poetry, calligraphy, and within Analema Group I'm bringing on board creative vision, poetic performance, vocal work, and bringing all the elements together together with my collaborators who perhaps are more focused on technical implementation and really making sure that things connect between sound and vision. The fascinating work we have been doing for years is how to make the invisible phenomena of sound more tangible more visible and experiential through our spatial performances and installations. [MUSIC] My inspiration with Analema Group comes primarily from being part of a great team of artists and technologists able to put together inspiring and exciting digital art pieces. From the beginning of the collective, our incredibly strong synergy allowed us to progressively go very far.
As the sound designer of the collective, my inspiration behind the work we do simply comes from natural elements such as vibrations, natural sounds, and other audio phenomena occurring in the environment. I then take those “live” elements and sonify them through various techniques such as spatialization of sound, filtering, and multi-layering. The sounds are not only treated acoustically but transformed into digital data, in this case, sequences of numbers, many of them, representing the physical data. These numbers are sent to a network of devices to make the sound revolve around the spectators, increasing the liveness feelings of the generated soundscape. The data is also feeding visual elements in real-time, creating a synchronous and immersive art piece.
I really love to listen… Listen to the sound of a city, listening through a stream in nature or birds in the forest. I walk a lot in nature and I listen carefully, I can feel the sound and how this is affecting us. My goal is to transmit this art of listening to the audience so that they can become more aware of the environment they live in. This is what we attempt to do as Analema Group: making you more aware of your surroundings through sound and vision. [MUSIC] Hey, my name is David I come from Portugal I am a visual artist In Analema Group, I'm the guy taking the visuals and some programmation.
So my background, I started doing 3D animation for several years, mostly for commercials, cartoons, television, and cinema. After that, I started working with video mapping, which is projecting videos on buildings mostly and 3D objects in real life, it's really cool. After that, I discovered a software called TouchDesigner that I will talk about a little later.
Which is a visual program that we can connect blocks to create some kind of logical states, it's pretty fun. So I started to doing interactive installations and since then it's what I really like to do. What inspires me is mostly the nature and all the patterns and all the small details that we can see around. I try to take some pictures to implement in the digital world. Trying to copy, somehow. In Analema Group my main function is to make the correlation between audio and video.
[MUSIC] Hi, my name is Olive Gingrich, I am co-founder of Art in Flux and also an artist with the Analema Group. As an artist and researcher, and I have always loved working with both sound and vision. Coming from Vienna, one of the capitals of classic music, I was never musically talented myself. But working with projectionists and artists, allowed me to find my own way of working with visual sound: I discovered ways of being creative with sound through visual representations: Initially working in clubs and large outdoor projections, we created slide shows, or projected light shows, animating visuals to sound in real-time using software such as isadore, resolume or similar.
We also had our own TV show on the electronic music culture in Vienna. I moved to London to study Fine Art, and Digital Media and discovered new technologies as a means of self-expression. Specifically, I have been fascinated by holograms, which I have now worked with for 15 years .
Holograms are an optical illusion, that allows you to see images projected into 3D space. At the company Musion, I was working with artists and on creative expressions, and it is here that I met Evgenia, Alain and later David Negrao. Holograms belong to the field of mixed reality, and I am still fascinated by immersive technology such as VR, AR and holograms. I'm now a researcher at the National Centre for Computer Animation, and a lecturer in Animation at the University of Greenwich, with a focus on media arts practice, and it's here that my passion lies. But it is at the Analema Group, that I feel I can be really creative working with mixed reality specifically on visual sound. At the Analema Group, I love bringing myself in as an artist working with immersive technologies and thinking about spaces from a visual point of view I love working with this brilliant team on creating new experiences for our audiences.
[MUSIC] Visual sound is the relationship between sound and vision. Everything starts with a vibration and the resulting spread of that initial impulse. Imagine yourself on the bank of a lake picking up small gravel stones. If you throw one of those in the water you will create an initial displacement of water creating a vibration and the resulting spreading effect.
This generated waveform is the most obvious relationship between sound and vision. First experiments between sound and vision were conducted by Ernst Chladni in the 18th century, also known as the father of Acoustics. Chladni put sand onto a plate and then vibrated these plates using his violin. Chladni then watched as the sand formed beautiful patterns, now known as Chladni patterns, proving that there IS a relationship between sound and matter that is defined by mathematics.
The quest to visualize sound waves has come about with the development of digital technologies. The basis of sound to vision was laid by an algorithm, called Fast Fourier Transform (FFT), named after Joseph Fourier, an 18th-century mathematician who discovered time series. The Fourier transform often takes a time series and maps it into a frequency spectrum.
In concrete terms, the most basic sound in our environment is a sine wave. Here is an example of a sine wave (image and sound), which sounds like this. It is simply a cyclical signal which will be heard higher and lower depending on its frequency, which is the speed at which the cycle goes. The combination of sine waves of different frequencies, intensity and phases creates by addition, potentially very complex signals. Combining several complex signals together create patterns called interferences or interference patterns Interestingly, if two complex waveforms are oppositely combined together, you achieve total interference or silence. If two complex waveforms are slightly offset from each other you get beating, a phenomenon which can transcend the vibration to an uncomfortable and uncontrollable state.
So basically, you get the point: Sound once translated to digital, generates sequences of numbers which are visualised, in traditional digital recording systems, as waveforms. The user can manipulate these waveforms intensively up to completely changing its sonic characteristics. Also, and that’s where it becomes interesting, parameters such as the frequency of a sound, its amplitude, or even its phase or harmonic relationship to another sound can all be translated into numbers. This will allow for example, instead of mapping a sound to represent a waveform, to use these parameters to change the colour of a shape. Deciding for example that a low-frequency sound will generate a dark colour and a high-frequency sound will generate a light colour, you can translate sound into visual form, and design the representation of these forms artistically.
For instance, the colour intensity can change as the overall sound becomes louder or softer. Or a new shape can be generated when two sounds achieve a harmonic relationship like a third of a fifth. So as you can see, the technology is pretty straightforward, and what comes next is the artistic approach, the main question being: what do we do with all this wonderful data? This is what we mainly think about at Analema Group. [MUSIC] Thank you Alin, with the Analema Group we have worked on a variety of different representations of sound, transforming sound into a multitude of different shapes. For instance into interference patterns. Into Chladni Patterns Into Wave Forms in 2D Or in 3D Into Liquid Simulations We have represented Harmonies between sounds for instance spirals But also invited the audience to feel sound, by amplifying very low frequencies so they become tangible and you can sense them with your body.
Or we visualised sound as colour to be experienced in 360 degrees. There are no limits to your creativity, in how to translate sound into vision, but all of our work is driven by certain guiding principles: These include Collaboration & Research, Participation, Multi-Sensory and Immersive Nature of our work, and the Site-Specific Work. Number 1 Collaboration and Research As artists, we work collaboratively in all of our projects. This means we are joining forces with other artists, with researchers, with scientists, musicians, dancers, programmers, or other creatives.
In our experience, every collaboration helps to unearth new insights, as we learn from each other, and get inspiration from individuals with very different skill sets from our own. Our workflow is characterized by a culture of listening to each other, trying to understand the different strengths and values and to align our objectives. When learning about music, harmonies or the nuances of the human voice, Nobodys an expert. we were speaking to therapists, scientists, and mathematicians, as well as reading up on the subject.
To hear from a variety of different perspectives. Research is an important part of our process, and we usually take time to really understand the relationships and concepts and that we work much better, before translating them into media arts experiences for our audiences. Part of this research means to literally reach out to other experts, and never to be afraid to ask questions.
Number 2 Participatory Arts Most importantly we are not just collaborating with other artists and practitioners, we are also collaborating with our audiences. In our artwork, the audience is turned into an artist in their own right. They contribute to the experience, either by sensing or interacting with the sound or by being a source of sound themselves. In KIMA Voice, for instance, participants take the role of a music instrument, of a musician, of an artist, in creating sounds that we then transform in real-time. Whether this is interference patterns, particles, spirals or 3D shapes, the audience explores the concept of harmony or resonance between each other. Every performance is different and driven by the audience as a performer.
The audience playfully discovers the power of their voice, while complete strangers make music with one another, which connects people who might never have met before. Number 3 The Multi-Sensory Experience Just as important as this participatory element, is the multi-sensory nature of our work. Analema Group is excited about the knowledge we now have about sound, this deep relationship between sound, matter, and the effect sound has on all our senses. Deep frequencies can be felt with our bodies, whether this is the gong of a Japanese taiko drum or the rumble of the city noise. We experimented with technology that allows you to feel these deep sounds, such as sub pack technology, which are small speakers you can strap to your body that allow you to feel sounds, and we created standing waves, that are wave forms so strong you can feel their vibrations in the room. We believe sound cannot just be heard, it can be sensed, seen through light, and it can be felt.
Number 4 The Immersive Nature Another important characteristic of our work is the translation of these experiences into an immersive experience. Immersion means to be completely surrounded by an experience. This could be through technology such as 360 video or more often than not through the use of light and sound. At our project KIMA: Noise we worked with a speaker array, that completely surrounds the audience, and invited the audience to draw their impression of sounds. These sounds were then distributed and diffused in the space around the visitors, so you literally feel like you are standing inside a sound sculpture.
Number 5 Site-Specific Work Last but not least, we draw a lot of inspiration from the sites that we work in. In the case of the Tate, we captured sounds from around the Tate and worked with the team at Tate exchange and local communities on a site-specific artwork. At Union Chapel, we were inspired by the architecture of an old church, The Union Chapel, and the Henry Wills organ that is usually hidden from the audiences view, to bring both the ceiling and the organ to life through our art.
Wherever we go, we like to think about the context of the artwork, the audience's role in it, and how it can relate directly to its environment. Hopefully, this gave you a first overview of key principles of our methodology in our practices. And now, we would like to talk you through a number of our artworks, to illustrate our practice: [MUSIC] KIMA: Wheel, commissioned for the 50 year anniversary of the London Roundhouse was a particular challenge for us, as we embarked on the project of creating a full audio-visual composition with the audience as the lead performer. Projected on Ron Arad’s Curtain Call, a giant projection curtain covering all of the London roundhouse, using real-time game engines and two media servers as well as a total of 16 projectors, this artwork forced us to rethink how we work: On a canvas as big as the London Roundhouse, we wanted to show diversity and nuances in the human voice. Wekinator is an open-source machine learning interface developed by Rebecca Feibrink at Goldsmith’s that acts as a neural network: Essentially, we were able to train a machine, how to interpret different sounds by assigning different visual parameters to different sounds.
This made it possible to distinguish between different characteristics of the human voice, also called timbre. One of our team members, Sean Soraghan, developed a feature extractor that allowed us to extract data on specific characteristics of the human voice, and using this machine learning technology Wekinator, we were then creating a visual language, through mapping that is easy to understand for the audience. Tonal sounds could be mapped to waveforms, and more fricative sounds to more jaggedy forms for instance. Displaying the artwork in the round, with a complete 360 speaker array, we were able to rotate the sound and display these waveforms around the audience. The audience was guided by professional singers, a full choir, and created sounds together. The performance itself was perforated through poetry and through this choir, in a process, we call facilitation, which meant that they were never left to their own devices, but were invited to interact and to be part of the performance.
[MUSIC] In our next project, KIMA: Voice, we were building on our experience of working with the human voice developed at the Roundhouse London. In KIMA: Voice we were interested in the concept of harmonies. We researched the relationship between musical harmonies such as octaves, unisons, or a perfect fifth. Harmonies describe relationships between sounds, that are particularly pleasant to the human ear, and it so turns out that these harmonies occur as and when there is a mathematically meaningful relationship between these sounds. With KIMA Voice we translated this knowledge into a visual interface, where the artwork essentially becomes a tuner, to help participants to discover harmonies between their voices.
Harmonies are represented as 3D shapes, and for the public it is exciting to seek these harmonies, by exploring their own voice. And finding out as and where these harmonies occur. It was fantastic to observe how the public was discovering the power of their own voice and to understand the relationship between their voices better. With KIMA Voice we collaborated with scientists, trying to understand if making sounds together can have an impact on our feeling of social connectedness. We know that artistic engagements can help with social connectedness, feeling in tune with one another, and also feeling happier and our art project and collaboration with Imperial College and the Royal College of Music provided further proof of this.
For us, it is really important that whatever we do has meaning for us as much as for our audiences. Art can be a vehicle for people to feel more connected to each other, and this idea is one of the driving forces behind our practice. [MUSIC] KIMA: Noise is an artwork that discusses the effect of noise on our bodies and mind. Urban noise has long shown to have an effect on learning, on how we behave and interact with one another, and also our wellbeing. In this case, we captured sounds from around the Tate Modern to distribute them inside the Tate and visualized the effect of noise, measured in decibel thresholds as a projection piece. The audience was also invited to use a touchpad to draw shapes.
Shapes of their impressions of these noises. that were then recreated as sound trajectories resulting in a 360 sound sculpture. These new types of interactions were exciting but really brought to life was our work with scientists such as the expert on noise Prof. Stephen Stansfield, and local community networks that we connected with. We loved exploring these new types of discussions that we had that really framed our practice and gave it meaning. Together we discussed what kind of strategies we can develop individually as well as collectively to deal with urban noise, and we received a lot of support from policymakers, the local council, local community groups, or the mayor of London. And this is really one of the many powers of the arts, to be a vehicle for discussion and social change.
[MUSIC] Going to try to show you some examples of projects that we did on Tate That was basically of streams of audio from outside in real-time that we analyzed and from the first software Max MSP, that analyses the audio, and then connects to TouchDesigner which is the software I use to make the visuals. And then we deform some objects to see in real-time the windows off state. So let's see.
So this is the software, TouchDesigner. So every box like this inside we have different boxes, in this case decibels, amplitude, and frequency that come to another program called Max MSP that's analyzing the sound in real-time. and connecting to TouchDesigner Software. So I have a bunch of these boxes every box is a different operation, so codes. We are analyzing the thresholds and the decibels of the sound.
That then goes to this box that has the 3D object. This looks like a mess but is not. [Laughter] So in this case Decibels and Amplitudes are affecting this geometry, so as you can see this is the 3D Model of the geometry, in this case near the Tate. Actually, this is the Tate and from the audio, we are going to deform the geometry, so this is interactive. This noise effect comes directly from the sound.
So this was a very cool project. And then this is the final output, this is the final output that are then reprojected on the windows. So this is a example of the mix between audio and video that we normally do, thank you so much! [MUSIC] A recent project, developed during the first UK wide lockdown, was KIMA: Colour which was developed at a residency with National Gallery X. KIMA: Colour looked at colour harmonies in some of the most famous artworks of the National Gallery’s collection as a 360 immersive video sound experience for audiences at home. KIMA Colour was commissioned and designed during Covid-19, and seen by thousands of people when the collection wasn’t accessible and allowed the UK public to reconnect with some of there most favourite artworks in all-new ways.
With KIMA Colour, we built on our existing knowledge of harmonies in sound and looked at colour theory and relationships between sound and colour. But we learned so much working directly with the team of researchers at the National Gallery, who told us so much about the history of colour pigments and how they were used back in the day. This knowledge served as a background for our creative interpretation of colour harmony within these three artworks. [MUSIC] One of the most important tips when working with a challenging subject is to be open to collaboration. In my experience, it never hurts to ask for advice, and more often than not, real experts are very happy to share their knowledge. I have been quite bold at times, in approaching experts, scientists, artists or even institutions, but always in the knowledge, that we are guided by the right motif, not by financial success, but by the hope to inspire our audiences, and to create new forms of art that have not been felt, sensed, heard or experienced before.
[MUSIC] I have a passion for sound, audio, and recording. Every time I try to step out of this passion, trying to do other jobs, I get pulled back to it. Right now I work for projects such as Analema Group and I also work for big Virtual Reality projects and I coach artists. I am also a teacher. I love to inspire people and I think this is the recipe for success. If you can inspire your peers with your passion, they will be inspired too and be successful.
[MUSIC] What first amazed me working with Anamela Group is collaboration, we can all bring something to the table and share that space and create the outcomes that none of us probably would have created otherwise, separately from each other. [MUSIC] Thank you so much for joining us today for our FLUX LIVE with the Woodcraft Folk. We wanted to thank both the Arts Council England and Woodcraft Folk for supporting us with this event. And now we want to open up the floor for any questions you might have for us. Thank you so much for joining us! [Outro music]