Mimetic Dynamics


Subject: Mimetic Dynamics
From: Barrett NL (N.L.Barrett@city.ac.uk)
Date: Fri Oct 01 1999 - 09:44:35 EDT


For anyone in the Scandinavia area there is the opportunity to experience
the sound and visual installation Mimetic Dynamics, which will be running
from 1st - 10th October, at this years Ultima contemporary music festival
in Oslo, Norway.

For more information see below, and also: http://www.kunst.no/mimdyn

......

With mathematical models and fast computer graphics, it is now
possible to simulate complex physical phenomena in real time. 'Mimetic
Dynamics' is an interactive installation using computer music, computer
controlled mechanics and computer graphics to capture the beauty and
complexity of natural physical phenomena through the exploration of
paradoxes and interactions emerging when real and virtual systems
meet and reflect eachother.

The physical, 'real' part of Mimetic Dynamics consists of a large
glass tank filled with clear oil. Computer controlled valves release
oil drops into the tank, producing waves which interfere and are
reflected from the walls. The shadows from the surface are projected
onto the floor below the tank.

The virtual part of the installation has a visual and an auditory
component. A large computer calculates the wave patterns in real time
and in precise synchrony with the physical processes. Or is it the
real system which is reflecting the virtual? Similarly, the sound of
the falling drops have their counterpart in electroacoustic sound,
sometimes subtly processed drop sounds, sometimes more abstracted
and massive sound masses.

'Mimetic Dynamics' is interactive - the audience can control the
valves with buttons. In any interactive work the artist faces a
difficult balance between interactivity and predictability. A too
simple interaction will give the user a feeling of control, but the
artwork can then also loose all form and structure and degenerate into
a 'video game'. On the other hand, more subtle and indirect forms of
interaction can quickly become incomprehensible and therefore less
han interactive. In 'Mimetic Dynamics', we let the user have direct
control over the visual and physical aspects, but the auditive part is
more complex. The computer follows a very large set of rules, deciding
which of the about one thousand specially composed sounds to play,
depending on the musical context and the dynamics of the user activity.



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