Phonoculous

Libby Heaney

November 2015:  To complete the first brief of the term, Emergent Behaviour – Live Interactions, the students presented a series of multi-sensory, participatory installations exploring the theme of emergence.  The students were asked to research and make an interactive piece of work which would generate emergent patterns or behaviours.  On More is Different we are interested in how systems methods and thinking can be used as both design tools and subjects, so we emphasized that the final outcomes should be function similarly to, for instance Slime Mould, where simple rules between participants determine the overall behaviour.  These rules might be explicitly part of the installation or implicit ‘social’ rules of the participants.

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Annelise Keestra, Olle Alm, Amanda Olesen and Rose Marie Leahy created an immersive sound installation, Phonoculos, where an individual user could listen to and respond to sound trails left by previous users.  The participants vision was distorted and masked by red light and this headset, which contained the headphones and microphone.  The participants were left to decide how and when they would respond, generating changing sound structures throughout the space.  The group took inspiration from ant colonies who use chemical trails to communicate.

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Helen Mair and Anna Ridler produced a game exploring the gentrification of cities following the price of coriander.  Here the rules were explicitly coded into the game and communicated why gentrification slowly takes hold of certain areas.  They took inspiration from Steven Johnson’s book Emergence.

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Lucy Hardcastle, Anna Dakin and Yinan Song presented Observer, a live generative installation, that recorded a users facial expression and then projected for a subsequent participant to view while they were facing a mirror.  Here the group were interested in how we respond to other people’s body language following implicit social rules in intimate environments.  This piece followed on directly from the group’s experiments at Battersea Arts Centre.

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Jordan Gamble, Georgia Ward Dyer, Sylvana Lautier and Maria Euler produced Pillow Talk, an interactive experience where participants cooperate in moving from one side of the room to another.  In order to move, participants asked for pillows with words on corresponding to the neighbouring squares on the floor.  Once a person held the pillow corresponding to the next square they were able to move into this space.  When a person pushed the red button, the entire dialogue from the participants was played back as the lights were dimmed.  This group was interested in how systems behaviour and emergence could be used to generate new language and alternative viewpoints on certain themes.  They explored this game across a range of topics.