A cinematic VR piece being developed in collaboration with Éric Filion...work in progress.
Saturday, August 29, 2020
Points Further North is an experimental VR documentary that was undertaken with a view to foregrounding how sound can be deployed as the primary mechanism for laying out the complex, often subjugated relationships manifested between physical spaces and those who inhabit them. Specifically, It examines how head-tracked ambisonic sound and haptic audio’s profoundly affective emotional, tactile and topologically enveloping capacities can be articulated within an acoustemological framework (acoustemology is best defined by ethnographer Steven Feld as “sonic ways of being in and knowing the world”) in order to evoke a heightened sense of awareness, perhaps even an agency, with respect to the largely abstracted ramifications arising from the consumerist lifestyles that are endemic to the developed world. The project exploits the possibilities inherent in the amplification of the vibratory and electromagnetic spectra that permeate our urban environments: infrasonic/tactile elements are disseminated via the Subpac wearable haptic interface in order to constitute a corporeal and emotional presence, and the radiant (yet invisible) transmissions of our information, economic and surveillance networks are captured and sonified via the via use of electromagnetic transducers. Both sonically and thematically, Points Further North seeks to uncover that which sound studies scholar Salomé Voegelin, terms “our locality on the invisible index of sound”, capitalizing upon sound’s capacity to delineate the ethereal topographies engendered via the vast, sublime – yet sublimated – infrastructures that we find ourselves immersed within.
'Ancient Thoughts and Electric Buildings' will be shown as part of York University Sensorium's 'Why Sentience' exhibition as this year's edition of ISEA:
Ancient Thoughts and Electric Buildings is an experimental, audio-led, virtual reality (VR) documentary that examines the portion of Toronto’s downtown core that extends along the city’s Gardner Expressway. This site traverses Canada’s financial nexus and has been the recent locus of extensive condo and commercial development; simultaneously, it exists as a region that is (and has historically been) occupied by a significant number of homeless people.
This project seeks to foreground sound as a key sensory modality distinguishing the conditions of the locale’s urban dispossessed from that of the privileged. To this end, spatial and haptic audio dissemination is deployed to emphasize the relentless cacophony within which the homeless remain perpetually exposed, a stark contrast to the acoustically sealed, climate-controlled, humming structures of the financial towers that their habitat is immersed in.
Visually, the documentary investigates the homeless population's reinterpretation of their imposed topography – beneath the cathedrals of commerce, highways become roofs and scrap material is reconfigured as walls and furniture in a surreal contemporary echo of feudal dynamics. Further emphasizing the socio-economic disconnect, fragments of local condominium marketing copy have been composited into the 360 space in order to highlight the disconcerting paradoxes inherent in the clash of these spatially overlapping, yet antithetical territories.