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Proposal Bremen

Thus profound metaphysics is rooted in an implicit geometry which whether we will or no confers spatiality upon thought; if a metaphysician could not draw, what would he think?

Gaston Bachelard , in M. Jolas, trans., The Poetics of Space (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1994).


Catadioptric sensors are imaging sensors built with combinations of mirrors (catoptrics), and lenses (dioptrics). The main advantage of using mirrors with cameras is that by using a curved mirror a wide field of view can be obtained. Catadioptric sensors are sometimes also known as omnidirectional sensors (see OmnidirectionalVision).

Here is an example of such a sensor/camera:
d40optics.jpg 09.jpg

Next to it is an image recorded with this camera suspended from the ceiling in the center of the space to about 3m above the floor.


All the activity in the room is captured into one cyclic image, resembling an eye or a clock face. People's position in the space and their relation to each other are very distinct and observable. Basic video motion tracking allows us to abstract these movements into clear geometries, which inform the sound generation process.

On the edge of the picture, surrounding the people in the space is a set of 8 speakers, which makes the visual field of view nicely overlap a sonic space. The sounds and rhythms generated are based on Indonesian Gamelan music and try to recreate the special sound effects created by the musicians during a performance:

In the Kecak chant described above, two spatially and temporally distinct musical parts combine to form a structure (perceptual or auditory stream) that is powerfully cohesive due to its simplicity relative to its components. This perceptual grouping contradicts the auditory streams relating to individual sources that define the spatialized auditory field and so may lead the listener to experience the music as a despatialized entity.
This may then contribute to the experiences and emotions of removal from normal acoustic time and space reported by performers of or listeners to this music. Other common musical devices, such as the simultaneous sounding of different instruments or musical harmony creating spectral fusion, may also create despatialized auditory streams and have similar effects.

from: A Spatial Theory of Rhythmic Resolution


Reflection through points 1 and 5 of 3-element group.

Technical requirements

  • 8 channel PA system, consisting of 8 full-range active speakers on stands at head height
  • 16 channel mixing desk
  • 1 DLP Video projector
  • 1 Apple G5 computer running the latest version of MacOS X
  • Tables to create a good workspace to fit 4 people

We would like to use two seperate spaces to show the piece: the main room for the actual installation with only the camera, the speakers and the audience in the room. Another room is used as a workspace/lab setup with all the computers, desks and a projection of the image of the main room.

The G5 computer does all necessary video and sound processing. We setup a wireless network to remotely control it using our own laptops in both rooms.

Images of the space




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